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Grave Difficulties and Suicide rising among HIV-positive individuals in Goa, India

09/10/07 -- An update from Goa..

Hi All,

A sobering update about rising suicide among individuals with HIV in Goa, shared by a colleague Jaffer Imander, at Positive Lives Foundation in Goa, India.

I have included his contact information below to send Jaffer and his group our support. - AC d'Adesky

Dear Friends,

As recent statement of Rajya Sabha members says the rate of HIV cases in India are decreased. The situation here at the grass root level is very different. Nobody can tell right figures of fact. Finally it is all numbers.

The fact is we are loosing here many PLHA friends day to day and experiencing suicide cases among young newly tested positive in Goa . From last six months we had seen many suicide cases “two to four” reported every day in local news paper reason not known. Later we are discovering that they tested positive and met our peers or out reach workers at various ICCTC or ART Centre hospitals.

Example, recently, there was a case who killed his wife, child and himself from north part of Goa . Same way, another case was first killed his wife and himself. There was women staying alone partner of truck driver committed suicide, first she put fired on her than jumped into a well, when child came to caught her nobody was at home, child was also a positive, later child was admitted under government custody as orphan. Before she committed suicide met our staff members at the ART centre.

Compare to other states, Goa ’s scenario of HIV epidemic is very dissimilar, Stigma and discrimination strongly continuing affecting PLHAs seriously. Goa is very small state of India , massage spreads very fast within a minute, PLHAs fear of their identity will known to others. Even individual PLHA scared coming to access ART from the centre.

Due to the stigma & discrimination PLHAs are not willing to access the services and makes them uncomfortable accessing care, support services, which leads to PLHAs death. There was a case whom we met, first wife died than husband after one and half month, later very close neighbor within a three month three death in same place, without an accessing care and support services.

Issues of ART & CD4 count facilities in Goa :

There is only one ART Centre and one CD4 Count machine throughout Goa state, which is located in ( Goa Medical College ), Bambolim. The CD4 Machine has become very old and not in position to take enough load, except 10 samples per day. Now days, PLHAs are increasing for a ART treatment and to check CD4 Count, accordingly it has to manage, but not happening at all. The functioning of the ART centre is very poor causing a very inconvenienced for individual PLHAs, particularly economically weaker.

Presently, CD4 count machine is not functioning from last twenty days, even today we inquire the concern authority said it will take another one month to get it repair. PLHAs have to travel from far distance yet again. Few months back it was not functioning more than two months.

We had already intimated and discussed these issues with higher authority like GOASACS director and health secretary. As well as we had raised this issue in last executive committee meeting, demanded from local government one more alternative CD4 count machine to avoid inconvenience. Director of GSACS mentions that their will going to propose to Goa Government, which is still in process. We had confirmed from our GoaSACS that NACO have certain criteria to provide two CD4 count machine for each state.

Is it not a really a death sentence? As activist discussed and present at various conferences, forums that HIV is no more remains a death sentence in India , especially representative of PLHAs nationally.

We hope something positive response will come from the forum members to address these issues in Goa .

Jaffer Inamdar
Program Manager / Founder President.
***************************************************************
POSITIVE LIVES FOUNDATION (PLF-GOA)
AP/41, G.2., C.P. Villa, Opp. Petrol Pump,
Betim Road, Near Sriram Super Market,
Green View Appt, Alto Porvorim,
Panaji, Goa - 403521
India.
Phone: +91 – 832 – 2415389
Mobile : +91 - 9371186773
Email: plfgoa@bsnl.in / plf@rediffmail.com
***************************************************************

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