TRUST ME is seeking funds for providing continuous support to HIV/AIDS infected children and their families affected by COVID 19. In the upcoming new year, we want to reenergize our HIV/AIDS community members who are badly hit by COVID 19 pandemic in 2020.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus known as HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system of the human body. It makes a person weak, more prone to other diseases and infections. HIV is spread by contact with bodily fluids such as (1) Blood, (2) Sexual fluids, and (3) Breast milk. Acts such as unprotected sex, injection of infected blood, mother-child contact during pregnancy, and breastfeeding are super-spreaders of HIV.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the last stage of HIV when the virus becomes too powerful and heavily damages the body’s immune system. If HIV is left untreated it would eventually lead to AIDS.
Globally 38 million people are living with HIV till 2019. In 2019, 690 thousand people died due to AIDS-related illnesses. In India alone, 2.1 million people are living with HIV and recently 69 thousand people died because of AIDS (UNAIDS data). Within India, Tamil Nadu remains one of the states with a high prevalence.
Women and children account for a significant percentage of the infected population. The research found that women and girls account for 48% of all new infections in 2019. Around 5500 young women get infected with HIV every week. Moreover, 1.8 million children age 0-14 years are estimated to be infected with HIV (UNAIDS data)
But why is it a matter of grave concern?
Unlike many other diseases, HIV does not have any cure. The human body can’t get rid of HIV. Once you get it, you have it for life. People with HIV undergo sufferings at the physical, psychological, and social levels. Physical troubles include recurrent fever, diarrhea, persistent fatigue, and many more. Psychological troubles include major depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity (especially in children), social phobias, etc.
It may be true that people infected with HIV cannot get rid of it. But it doesn’t end there. Through antiretroviral therapy (ART; HIV medicine), the count of the virus or the viral load in the body can be reduced drastically. By doing this, infected people can function and perform normally like any other person in all aspects of life. But these medicines should be consumed for the entire life to keep unnoticeable viral load within the body.
But think about women and children from underprivileged backgrounds. Continuous social support from family and society to help them with their treatment and normal functioning is extremely crucial. But unfortunately, they lack this vital support they need. They face harmful social stressors like discrimination, lack of economic and family support, educational aides, unemployment, violence, social rejection, and other ill-treatment.
TRUST ME fills this void by playing an important role here.
TRUST ME interventions aimed at people with HIV/AIDS for empowering them are:
1. Awareness generation
2. Capacity building
3. Community organizations
4. Mainstream linkages
5. Policy influencing
In the last sixteen years, we have developed a strong foundation of people’s network at the ground level. We depend on people’s organization for undertaking development planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and follow-up initiatives. These network with bottom to top mechanism has strengthened community participation and sustainability of development activities. We have the following people’s organizational network including:
1. Children’s groups
2. Women’s groups
3. Village health committees
4. Youth clubs
As of now, we have impacted the lives of 1200 children and their families who were affected by HIV/AIDS.
Our main on-going projects include:
1. Children HIV/AIDS Program
2. HIV/AIDS Community based care and support program for families
3. Community mental health
In these projects, we offer our support through the direct method and the indirect way.
Our direct services in these programs include offering psychological support, food, nutritional support, educational support, economic support, and emergency relief. Our indirect support includes the creation of community mobilization, providing referrals and linkages, health care services including HIV treatment, mainstreaming, and capacity building. We also provide awareness, sensitization, and counseling to our target groups.
The operating expenses for the functioning of TRUST ME have been made possible by a generous grant from donors and well-wishers enabling us to utilize donations in their entirety towards rehabilitation efforts. We fully utilize our funds for all our projects and activities.
However, we are facing an unprecedented situation in our journey. Due to COVID 19, we are short of funds. This hampers our continuous support for affected groups including women and children. As mentioned above, HIV-affected people should compulsorily continue taking medication for keeping them healthy and safe. Our support is vital at this juncture.
Therefore, we at TRUST ME have decided to reach out to our online community of donors to help us fund our projects. We are also doing this now for our upcoming programs for Pongal and Makara Shankanthi celebrations in January 2021. We are planning to reinvigorate our affected community members to start a new year with a new life.
We request our online donors for supporting our community.