GUWAHATI: Crores being spent every to observe the World AIDS Day in Assam to create awareness about the disease and help the victims to lead a dignified life. But the State is yet to overcome stigma associated with the HIV and AIDS patients forcing the latter to face discrimination, alienation and injustice in the society.
Even the various departments concerned of Assam Government are not exception when it comes to deal with HIV and AIDS patients. Stigma and casual approach of officials of these departments in Dispur has resulted in an inordinate delay in clearing files and projects meant for welfare of HIV victims and their relatives.
In 2012, the State Government had decided to offer financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh to wives of those died of HIV or AIDS. Even though the scheme ran well initially, it has literally come to an end now. More than 200 applications seeking Rs 1 lakh by the families of the AIDS victims are currently pending with the State Government.
“These applications have now gathered enough dust in the tables of the departments concerned in Dispur. Many wives of AIDS victims have almost lost all hopes to get such financial assistance with the government departments seeking piles of documents from applicants. Many of these documents are quite irrelevant and a section of officials are seeking such papers due to their prejudices and stigma associated with AIDS patients,” an HIV activist told The Sentinel. He said rules of sanctioning financial assistance to wives of victims keep changing with every new officer takes charge of the department that look after such files.
On other hand Kasturi Children Care Home, an NGO looking after four HIV infected children and 12 other children whose parents died of AIDS, is struggling to get a new rented accommodation. “We have to vacate the present rented house. Even though we have selected some rented house, the landlords have become reluctant to let out these houses for us after they came to know that we deal with HIV patients,” a person associated with the NGO said.
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