Woman on the Rise: Vani
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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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Vani knows that HIV is not a death sentence.
Vani is a social worker at the VFF Hospital in Bathalapalli, one of the five VFF-run hospitals in the region. After her husband died of AIDS, she moved back to her childhood home with her son to live with her parents. When she was diagnosed with the disease five years ago, VFF offered her the opportunity to study social work and inspire others.
Vani travels throughout the rural areas speaking with people living with HIV, offering help and comfort. She also works with pregnant women who carry the virus and educates them on mother-to-child transmission of HIV. At the VFF Hospital, Vani and 19,197 other people are receiving care, antiretroviral treatments, counseling and nutrition services, which are offered to anyone and any family that needs it.
Even though the epidemic has been on the decline, India has the third largest HIV-positive population in the world. Only South Africa and Nigeria have higher rates of HIV. More than half of HIV deaths in Asia occur in India.
Throughout India, barriers to accessing public health services have forced many people to turn to the private sector. The Indian health system is among the most privatized in the world. The rural poor cannot afford private healthcare. That’s why VFF hospitals operate on a dramatically reduced sliding scale; patients pay whatever they can afford. Through the generous support of the Indian government, patients in Andhra Pradesh and Telegana have access to free antiretroviral treatments at VFF hospitals.