HIV/AIDS Program Positive Care Launches Inaugural Manual

The Indian Express  – September 27, 2012

“It is so difficult to talk to our own children on matters related to sex. Then how do we explain children living with HIV about his/her sexuality and answer their innumerable questions?” asks Anuradha Mukherjee, project director at NAZ foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO working on HIV/AIDS and sexual health.

In the city to interact with institutions that provide care for children with HIV, the Naz Foundation along with the American India foundation will launch a training manual on positive care giving.

Malavika Tiwari, actor and AIF board of trustees’ member, will launch the training manual at a function to be held on Thursday. Child care institutions from Pune, Ahmednagar, Latur, Sangli and other places have come together for a four-day workshop that commenced at Pimpri today. Due to the stigma surrounding HIV, rehabilitation is a huge issue for these children, says Jameela Dhalait, project coordinator at city-based NGO, Manavya, that provides shelter for 63 children who are orphaned and living with HIV.

“The Zilla Parishad has recognised the school at Manavya that teaches children from Standard I to VII, but others are sent to schools located at Kothrud for studying in Standard VIII, IX and X.”

“They interact with other children and come back with a lot of questions. This is the age where they realise they are living with HIV. We help train them after SSC, but getting a job is still difficult,” Dhalait says.

“Care homes try to create differences and while their passion is heartwarming, they lack the technical understanding and capacity to deal with issues related to the overall development of the child,” says Dr Vinay Kulkarni from Prayas Health Group.

“While newer drugs and better nutrition have helped improve the quality of life of children, there is an increasing need to develop practices that address adolescent concerns,” points out Charu Johri, Senior manager, public health at AIF.

According to Mukherjee, the manual and workshop are part of an AIF-NAZ initiative to assess the standards and practices of child care institutions in three HIV prevalent states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh providing care to orphaned and vulnerable children.

The manual aims at filling in the lacuna and provide an insight into how caregivers in an institutional setting can ensure better care and support to children living with HIV and AIDS and deal with them during their formative years. The four part manual looks at HIV/AIDS, sex and sexuality, child care and special issues in the context of children living with HIV.


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