No succour for AIDS afflicted

HATHAUDI (MUZAFFARPUR) Oct. 5. The campaign centring around AIDS either has not reached this remote village or has had no impact whatsoever, if one sees the plight of a family affected by this dreaded disease.

The death of three people including an infant has become a cause for social boycott of this socially well-off family. The family head, his son and his infant grandson — three generations down the line — have fallen victim. The father and the son had migrated from the village some six years ago in search of jobs and during their stay in Surat (Gujarat) and Delhi they had acquired the virus from carriers.

The chief of the State unit of the National AIDS Control Organisation, C.K. Anil, admitted that the father and the son had contracted the disease and the son tested HIV positive even at AIIMS, Delhi. The then Union Minister, C.P. Thakur, had recommended Central aid for their treatment, but redtapism came in the way of clearing their BPL (below poverty line) certificate.

The Union Minister, Shatrughan Sinha, during his visit to Muzaffarpur, said that the deaths were being investigated and expressed his concern over the social-isolation. The campaign would be intensified to educate the people that the illness was not contagious generally.

The father and the son had returned to the villagem for good when they found themselves zapped of energy to do any work, affected by lack of resistance to infections. Apparently, they realised their folly and their problems a bit too late. They seemed to have passed on the virus to their respective wives by then. The death of the grandson, a one and half year old infant, has sent shivers down the spine of the family and the villagers in general. The villagers fear that the two women might also be infected by the malady. The locals see the same syndrome in the five-year-old boy (son and grandson of the two deceased), particularly as a sore does not heal.

Nobody visits them and no member of the family is welcome in any home. The efforts of the women to eke out a living have been spurned. Their social status plummeted in the past one year so much so that the villagers did not even take part in the funeral and the subsequent memorial services.

Some villagers donate foodgrains to the affected family, but neither the State Government nor the Central Government had stepped in to relieve their misery.

Surprisingly, NGOs too have not shown any interest in helping the family to regain its rightful place in society.

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