A separate “alterative” school for the HIV infected kids has been opened in Kirtipur after almost all the schools in this area refused to take the infected students in for admission. Despite of the dissemination of the knowledge that HIV doesn’t spread through sitting and having meals together, schools did not accept the students. A total of 23 students have been studying in the alternative school. Following the disappointment from the society and family itself, the students are compelled to live on the mercy of different organizations , says the guardian of the students Rajkumar Pun.
An instance of the victim students is Anup Tamang ( name changed) from Salyan who says he was infected by HIV after his father, carrying it while returning from India, transmitted it to his mother and he was thus born HIV infected. Anup was raised in his grandfather’s house after his parents died but was expelled from school following his HIV infection. Following the ill-treatment from the local people he came to Kathmandu for an escape. He describes his painful story about being mocked and treated bad even by the students of the school he went to study, after being known as HIV infected. “The students even chased me by hitting stones.” Says Anup.
“Safalta HIV Sadan” has been opened as an alternative school for the 23 students sheltered at Baby Life Home in Kirtipur. Although the permit for opening is given by the Government, the insufficient funding has hindered the proper functioning of the school, says Pun.
Junu Atraya( name changed) from Baitadi is also HIV infected by birth. She has already lost her parents by the disease. She explains her story about isolation while living in her aunt’s ( phupu) house and running to Kathmandu after unavailability of proper medication for HIV infection in the district.
The expert doctor on communicable disease of Shukra Raj Tropical and Communicable Disease Hospital says HIV is infected by the unsafe intercourse, use of the same intravenous syringes and blood transfusions from the infected individuals and from the untreated mother to her new-born babies. “ It does not get transmitted by sitting, having meals and studying together.”
According to the Tropical and Communicable Disease Hopsital, Teku, the approximate number of HIV infected children all over Nepal has reached around 19 hundred.
(Source: Kantipur, 29th July)