KATHMANDU, Sept 1: Seventeen-year-old Sabita Lama (name changed at her request) thinks life is hard compare to death through she has lived through the deaths from aids of both her father and mother.
When her father died she did not understand the reason. But she was big enough to understand the cause of her mother´s death. After both parents died life became much harder for Sabita and her brother Sandesh.
"We shifted to an orphanage as we did not have anyone to care us," she said. Their parents were Indian nationals from Darjeeling. "After my dad´s relatives learnt about the disease that killed him they cut off all ties with us," she said.
Sabita and her brother are waiting for their + 2 results but dread the prospect of disclosing their circumstances.
"I cannot even disclose my circumstances to my friends and teachers. I would be expelled from school and college if I did that," she said. Some of her friends recently learnt that she lived in an orphanage and they asked about the cause of death of her parents.
She told them the truth and they reacted differently from what she expected. "I did not tell anybody at school because I would have been ostricized," she added.
Sudeep Bhattarai has a similar tale to tell. "I did not disclose my HIV status in college, as I feared discrimination," he said. He said that more than 25 individuals at the children´s home where he is living have enrolled in school concealing their circumstances.
He said if friends were to learned that he is living in a shelter where basically HIV-positive children are accomodated their behavior towards him would change. He said such children have to face humiliation if they disclose their circumstances.
"Schools have expelled children who are HIV-infected, so we feel compelled to hide our health status," Basanta Chhetri of National Association of People Living with HIV AIDS Nepal (NAP+N) said.
He said several renowned schools in Kathmandu have expelled children in the past on learning that they were HIV-infected.
Sudeep Bhattarai is currently working for NAPN. But he is afraid of losing his job as he cannot get a job elsewhere if his circumstances are revealed.