Speaking Out… A Woman’s Battle Against HIV Stigma
Speaking Out… A Woman’s Battle Against HIV Stigma

Mina lives in Sunsari district with her three children. At the age of 14 she got married. Because of the family’s low income, her husband had to go to India to find employment.

While in India, he frequently went to the brothels and engaged in unsafe sex. A few years later, he started to fall sick and after undergoing tests at a hospital in India, he was told that he was HIV positive. Dismissed from his job and unable to find other employment in India, he returned to Nepal but did not disclose his status to his wife or family because of the fear of stigma and discrimination that surrounds people living with HIV.

A few years later, his body succumbed to AIDS and his family found out that he was HIV positive. Mina was blamed for infecting him and after her husband’s death was forced to leave the family house with her three children. With nowhere to live, unemployed and three children to take care of, she contemplated suicide but thoughts of her orphaned children and later her sister’s invitation to stay at her house changed her mind.

Mina continues to experience discrimination from her parents in law and neighbours but her life has taken a significant turn since she joined a support group for people living with HIV called Dharan Positive Group (DPG). DPG provides counselling and care for its and through its home based initiative supported by UMN, more than 48 people living with HIV are receiving care.

Mina is currently an active advocate in her village, speaking out against stigma and discrimination. She is also part of a women’s group that has been started to support women living with HIV in Itahari, Sunsari district.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *