This World AIDS Day, PRASAD Chikitsa received an award as the best performing Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) from Thane District.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, reflecting on the HIV pandemic helps us see how much scientists can learn about diseases. The first HIV drug was approved in 1987, and in less than 10 years, 1996, scientists developed the triple cocktail, which has completely transformed the lives of HIV-infected people.
Shreya’s (name changed to protect identity) first visit to the PRASAD Chikitsa Health Care Center was with her family in 2018 when she was just 3 years old, and it was traumatic. Her father was ill and was diagnosed with HIV and TB. Shreya and her mother then tested positive for HIV.
The family was immediately signed-up for Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART), and Shreya’s father also started TB treatment, but he was already too far along. He succumbed to TB within a few days. Devastated by the loss and the diagnosis, Shreya and her mother weren’t sure where to turn.
PRASAD enrolled Shreya and her mother in the HIV program, which, in addition to ART, provides counseling, nutritional supplements and a general health check-up at each monthly visit, all of which help to build and sustain a healthy mind and body, giving strength to carry on.
A year later, a vibrant, smiling Shreya started Kindergarten and was very excited to get a new school bag filled with colored pencils, a water bottle and notebook from PRASAD Chikitsa. But then the Pandemic hit and along with it the lockdown.
Initially, due to strict police patrols, Shreya and her mother were afraid to go to the Health Care Center for their monthly HIV visits. Fortunately, their ART passbook allows them to travel to access these essential services, so they have received treatment without interruption.
This year, Shreya celebrated her 5th birthday. She is a happy, healthy bundle of energy and is eagerly waiting to start Primary school next year. Shreya will grow, dream of her future, and contribute to her community because she got the right treatment early.
In addition to treatment and support like Shreya and her mother received, PRASAD’s highly acclaimed, comprehensive HIV Program focuses on prevention with outreach programs across the Tansa Valley, testing and counseling, and prevention of parent to child transmission in the case of HIV-positive pregnant women.
HIV, like TB, can be a devastating disease, but with early detection and consistent treatment there is hope. Give a gift of health today, and let the people of the Tansa Valley know that you and your loved ones are thinking of them this holiday season.
Thank you for continuing to support PRASAD!
Dr. M. Cecilia Escarra,