People with HIV snub medicines in BajhangMore than half of the people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Bajhang do not take their medication due to discrimination and stigma attached to it.
Basanta Pratap Singh
More than half of the people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Bajhang do not take their medication due to discrimination and stigma attached to it.
According to the District Health Office (DHO), only 44 people out of the total 92 HIV-infected people in the district are taking anti-retroviral drugs. Chief of the DHO Dr Bishnu Khatiwada said many of them do not take ART services for fear of being humiliated in the society. “They dread being identified as HIV infected after using the drug,” said Khatiwada, warning, “This has raised a risk of further transmission of the virus that causes Aids.”
“There are 2-3 HIV infected persons in our village,” said an HIV-infected woman in Rayal VDC, adding. “But they could not muster courage to reveal their condition because of the fear of being outcast by the society.”
Kopila Malla, the chairperson of Bajhang plus, an organisation working with the HIV-infected people in the district, said HIV infection is more prominent among women than men in this fart-western district. “There are 52 women living with HIV here,” she said.
At least 11 people have died of AIDS-related illnesses in the district since the DHO started keeping data of the HIV-infected people. “Villagers in the remote areas do not like to have their blood drawn. And there is no blood testing facility in the whole of the district,” said Khatiwada.