Finding Meaning in Life while Living with HIV
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The Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA (VFF USA) is thrilled to announce the save-the date for our annual gala, “Recipe for Empowerment” as October 6th, 2017.
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India has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in recent years. Fighting against the disease in rural areas is complicated due to temporary migration to urban centers for job opportunities. Families in rural communities are often separated for months at a time as men leave their rural homes in search of work during non-farming months. Men receive additional salaries, and some engage in risky behaviors that can lead to contracting HIV from sex workers. Rural migratory workers unaware of their condition, return home and years later their families begin to cope with the effects. VFF provides care and support to numerous widows left behind.
HIV+ patients in rural India have few resources. Widows struggle to find support after their husbands die, while they fight for their own survival. Communities in rural areas fear HIV and those living with the disease face discrimination. People with HIV and those at high risk of infection are often pushed away from the health care system. VFF recognizes that in order to achieve zero AIDS-related deaths and zero new infections, we must work to end discrimination by empowering the HIV+ widows of rural India.
Krishnaveni, a widow with HIV, came to VFF seeking support. She explained, “My family rented me a room and kept me isolated because they were afraid…I was very scared at first, and I wanted to die.” With support from VFF and other widows she met, Krishnaveni now believes that even though she is HIV+, she can still have a good life and is connected to a support community.
VFF patients are educated about their rights, treatment solutions, and opportunities for economic development from trusted community members living with a similar experience. HIV+ widows make up one-third of all HIV patients at VFF’s Bathalapalli Hospital.