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Nepal’s Far-west State gets heavily hit by HIV/AIDS

KAILALI: Nepal’s Far-west State has been hit hard by HIV/AIDS owing to the increasing number of migrant workers visiting Indian cities have returned home with infection.
Kailali, the capital of the Sudur Paschim (Far-western) State, is the worst hit by the infection where the disease is locally known as Bombaiya Rog, or Bombay disease.
The men who stayed for long in India are responsible for the spread of the disease in the area. All the people diagnosed with HIV infection are migrant workers, their wives and young children, said stakeholders.
To reach the Godawari Municipality, one has to travel one and half hours’ drive from Dhangadi. The municipality is surrounded by beautiful hills and colourful flowers and is always ready to welcome those who visit its land.
But the locals of Olani of the municipality couldn’t do so. The locals of this village are in seclusion; they are living a hopeless life, without dreams in their eyes, said Rajendra Malla, of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Center, Malakheti.
It has been estimated that there are around 200 people living with HIV positive in Godawari Municipality ward-10, 11 and 12.
According Malla, during the last two years, 10 HIV infected persons have lost their lives.
Belu Devi Kami, a HIV infected, who has to work hard every day to earn livelihood for her family, said she kept on thinking about her future, how it would turn out. Her three sons and two daughters are solely depended on her.
Nine years ago, Belu Devi was first infected with the disease. She got the disease, as a gift from her husband Nripa Kami, who went to Mumbai as a migrant worker, said Belu Devi.
“We didn’t know that he was infected with the disease. One day he returned home, with the disease. He was so sick that he was bed-ridden for seven months. He used to take medicines but he never mentioned that he had HIV. He used to lie that he has been taking medicine for Tuberculosis.”
Belu Devi said she came to know about the disease, only after the death of her husband. “He was infected with the disease years ago. He has transmitted this life-threating disease to me and my all children.”
Since the locals come to know about the disease, Belu Devi and her children have been segregated by the society. Because of social stigma, Belu Devi’s family was compelled to leave their village.
After they were displaced from their village, they have not even an inch of land and house, which they can call home.
This is not just a story of Belu Devi. There are many families in Kailali and other districts of Sudur Paschim Region, who have been living such a miserable life caused by HIV/AIDS.
The number of HIV infection has been growing every month in the district, said Malla.
There are several reasons behind the growing HIV infection in the region, like poverty, migration and drug abuse, among other. Poverty and migration are the major factors for increasing rate, he added.
The government and various organizations are working to make sure that HIV infected people do not have to face social stigma and other hurdles.
However, the state government doesn’t have a concrete policy for the people infected with the disease. They are in dire a need of support like, medicines, treatment and for managing their livelihoods.

Published Date: Saturday, May 18th, 2019 | 07:11 PM

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