I have a beautiful story to share from a remote village in Northeast part of India- Molvum. Its called the pineapple village as it has the highest production of pineapples in the region.
The story is from my senior friend Mr. Huolai (I call him Uncle Huolai) who is a retired headmaster in the village and a very respected member of the community. Its about his wife who is a very warm lady. The region has high HIV prevalence and several myths prevailed in the village about HIV. There were few seminars on HIV which villagers would just listen and come back.
Auntie Huolai believed (this is a common misconception) that HIV could be transmitted by day-to-day contact, through shaking hands, hugging, and even sharing dishes. So, whenever she would get PLHIV as visitors at home she would be uncomfortable in their presence and even throw away the cups in which tea was served. When her husband went out of station for his first ACP workshop he shared the room with a positive friend. When he came back and said that he shared the bed with a PLHIV, she was very upset. He had to take bath ten times before he could share the bed with her!!!
However, when ACP was introduced in the village, community conversations begin to happen. This was unlike the one-way communication on HIV awareness workshops held earlier in the village. As community members shared their experiences through community meetings and home visits, Mrs Houlai realised that HIV was just like another disease.
Now the scenario has changed at the Huolai home. We can find Auntie laughing and mixing up with PLHIV and some even stay at her home.
And if you are ever in Molvum village never come back without meeting the warm, loving couple. I would like to thank Uncle for sharing his personal story.
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