My Future – My Choice -- but CLHA Future ????

Dear Forum

Good Evening

Few days back I visited a Children Living with HIV/AIDS (CLHA) home In Andhra Pradesh, India. She is @@@@@ , 18 years old, AIDS Orphan, on ART and living with her 10 years old younger brother at Vijayawada. He is going for fruits wending at moving trains. She was matured physically but mentally retorted and staying alone at her home.

When I visited her home I interacted with her for much time with the support of field worker. That case was giving the opportunity to think on the issue. I observed so many CLHA teenagers in the fields of the Andhra Pradesh.

This is also a one of the current issue in fields. Nearly 2.1 million Children living with HIV/AIDS (CLHA) in world and approximately10% - 15% are teenagers. They receiving, medicine& treatment from Hospitals and love, care, support from Parents, Grannies, homes, NGOs, relatives, social workers& friends. They are growing physically, psychologically, socially, economically and educationally and having matured mindset. Anti Retroviral Therapy is a boon to CLHA and changing like boost boys. It is good. But future of CLHA is blank. They are in teenage, having same feelings, desires; mindsets, interests, thoughts and activities like all the teenagers. If forget their HIV status and have sex with any one, situation is not in our hands. Again epidemic will repeat in teenagers (13 -19).

This is also one problem in the world. Need to provide the basic knowledge on HIV/AIDS and disclose the HIV status to with CLHA, Care givers at the right situation.

VMM is a voluntary organization started the “Prerana” friends groups for reduce the positive prevention in the CLHA and increase the ART adherence in the CLHA.

NGOs, CBOs, FBOs, Government Organizations, Donors have to aware on this issue and form issue based support groups to protect the teenagers. If we do not protect our teenagers again the HIV epidemic will return from the teenagers.

With Regards

Abraham Mutluri
Andhra Pradesh
India

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Comment by M.L. Prabakar on March 30, 2009 at 1:00am
Dear Abraham Mutluri,

I can see your deepest concerns for the young people and I appreciate it. I wish to share my experience in Ta wang Tan district, a sub district in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I visited them in February this year. They appeared to be a shy group but their potentials were remarkable they guided me to be helpful to young people which I wish share with you.
10 years ago when the community saw HIV was a issue among young people they brought them all to a common place and started teaching and advising them on what they have to do and how to correct their behaviours. The young people started felling that the elders are saying that they were all bad and they are responsible for all bad things. This discouraged them and several became disinterested in what was told to them. A group of young people got together and decided to do some thing about this whole issue. They choose a place for their meetings and this was temple in the neighbourhood and started discussing issues that concerned the most to them. Over period of time they drew more and more young people to them and made the elders beleive that young people are matured and they have great potential in handling their issues themselves. They said "we do not differentiate young people by saying this person is gay, an IDU or positive. We do not discriminate them (the elders did so) we all are youngsters and we all speak the same language. Whether we Gay, IDU, or positive our issues as young people are the same.
This inclusiveness and demonstration of acceptance has taken them a long way. Now this initiative they have begun has spread from this sub-district to several main districts. They redesigned their old logo to fit in their current coverage they now have 13 stras in their logo that signifies 13 districts. They discuss issues related to HIV / AIDS, Condoms, Do condom demonstration and they are transparent in nature by allowing their parents and elders to be as observers in all their meetings. They also discuss things of their interest such as music dance and so on. They use their time productively and make ceramic portrayals of their ancient cities keeping their cultural heritage alive. This they sell as a way of fund raising for their work among young people. They have also taken the help of a spiritual guide (a Buddhist monk). They taught me a very valuable lesson that if we have to see a change in young people we need to trust them and allow them to respond to their issues from their strengths. We need to trust their ability to respond and they will. If we really want to help young people we need to be trust worthy in their eyes and be along with them help in facilitating their responses.
i hope this sharing would be useful to you.

Wish you all the best,

With warm regards,

Prabakar

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