Challenging the taboo, these HIV + couples became parents
LUCKNOW: The stigma that comes with being a positive person often limits one's chances, one of them is to plan a family. And for Neetu, a resident of Rai Bareli, life had a rather tragic way of telling him about it.
In 2011, when she gave birth to a child at age 25, her family's joy was overshadowed by the poor health of the mother and the newborn. Some medical tests later, she knew she was HIV positive. However, his own health was in the background when the baby died three weeks later.
What followed uprooted her life: her husband Anil left her and her in-laws blamed her for the tragedy. He finally contacted a counselor at the Center for antiretroviral therapy (ART) at a hospital in Allahabad. During the counseling, it turned out that Anil was also HIV positive. The couple reconciled and began the treatment.
These stories show how HIV positive couples can have a new life opportunity with timely medical treatment. Given its dedicated fight against AIDS, the government should establish more care support centers so that patients know life after diagnosis. The more aware people become, the less likely they are to consider HIV as a stigma.
However, it was not always easy to forget what they had lost. They did not have much hope of forming a family of healthy children.
While the world observes December 1 as World aids day TOI spoke with some couples who have overcome trauma and pain to give paternity a chance. Neetu and her husband waited three years to plan a family after talking with their counselor in 2014. She gave birth to her eldest son a few months later, but she breathed calmly only when doctors said she was HIV negative. Chief chahti thi ki merely ghar ka diya jal jaye said. Neetu is now the mother of two children, both HIV negative, and works as a counselor at the government-managed care support center for HIV positive patients. Sanjay Singh, a Bulandshahr native, was devastated when he learned that his pregnant wife was HIV positive in 2016. “I remember being so scared that I cried. I trusted my wife and felt it was unfair, ”said the 31-year-old government employee. The couple decided to move on with the pregnancy. I felt frustrated because I couldn't share my doubts with anyone. I was afraid, but I had no choice but to trust the doctor.
When his daughter was born the following year, Sanjay could not have been happier.
When asked if the couple planned to tell their daughter about her mother's health, Sanjay said she did not want to expose the child to any trauma.
Virendra Awasthi and his wife Malti had renounced their destiny after being diagnosed as HIV positive in 2005.
Although they began treatment almost immediately, nothing prepared them for what followed. “While we had the support of our family, society rejected us. Many did not like to approach us, he said. It was this trauma that discouraged them from forming a family. However, hope finally won when Malti became pregnant in 2016.
By the way, the couple's son was also born in December.
1. Speaking about the myths associated with the virus, ARTC nodal officer (KGMU) Dr. D Himanshu said: It is possible for HIV positive couples to have healthy children, provided the pregnancy is monitored regularly. Pregnant women receive medications to lower the virus level to a low level so that it is not transmitted to the baby.
* Names have been changed upon request.