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Homearrow News and Events Year 2010 Support Groups Make Life Easier for Women Living with HIV

Support Groups Make Life Easier for Women Living with HIV

It’s not easy being a woman living with HIV. But as the world celebrated International Women’s Day on Monday, several HIV positive women have been declaring their status and a strong network of over 1,000 has been setting up self–help groups and initiating savings schemes for them.

Manisha, a counsellor with the Access to Care and Treatment programme of Network of People living with HIV in Pune, said 1,826 HIV positive women have registered with the network. “There are 13 self–help groups and each group has around 15 women who contribute Rs 50 every month. This initiative has helped five groups of women open bank accounts and loan applications are already meeting with approval,” she said.

For Satyabhama, life took a different turn after she tested positive for HIV and her husband died of AIDS. She moved to Pune, rented a room, washed clothes and earned a living for the sake of her two children, who had tested negative. Thanks to the support from a growing network of people living with HIV, Satyabhama now works at one of the treatment and care programmes, takes medication and leads a healthy life. “Over the years, the network has provided solace to more than 1,000 such women and is undertaking a survey to understand their problems,” says Sanjay Jadhav, administrative officer at the network.

According to Yuvraj Shinde, programme associate for the Network of People living with HIV in Maharashtra (NMP+) a total of 24,000 women are enlisted on their access to care and treatment programme in the state. The Global Fund for AIDS, TB and malaria has been funding the ACT programme and Rs 40,000 is set aside for each district every month.

Tejaswi Sevekari, coordinator of Saheli, which works for sex workers, said that earlier it was difficult to bring these women together. Now, a support group has been set up with 100 women and two are being trained to work as peer counsellors.

Sevekari said their interventions have helped bring these women together. “They know how to enrol in the Anti Retroviral Treatment (ART) programme and maintain a diary. Earlier, they did not declare their status. But now women are enquiring about each other’s health, she said.

Dr D B Kadam, in–charge of the ART Centre at Sassoon General Hospital, said a total of 5,470 people are on ART and this intervention has helped bring down the viral load. Doctors have also encouraged people living with HIV to follow a nutritious diet, he said.

Extending support
  • 1,826HIV+ women registered with the Pune network 24,000all over Maharashtra
  • 13self–help groups with 15 members each contribute Rs 50 every month
  • Network helps women open bank accounts and apply for loans
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Source :Indian Express

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