Story of HIV-infected Saleha downplays fairytale...

Dhaka, Wednesday   19 January 2022

Story of HIV-infected Saleha downplays fairytale

 News Desk

 Published: 02:41 PM, 12 January 2022  

File Photo

File Photo

Thirty-three-year-old Saleha (pseudonym) opted for the life of a sex worker. She stepped into this dark life by the cycle of destiny. Socio-economic hardship forced her to stretch her leg on this way.

At the age of only nine and a half years old, she lost her parents. They died in a fatal road accident. Then, she took shelter in her maternal uncle's house. Her grandmother took the responsibility of Saleha.

But, fate didn't favour Saleha as her grandmother died when she was only 13-year old. Then, a new chapter of her life began. That life was not like a bed of roses as her aunt (uncle's wife) tortured her regularly. Even, she (Saleha) had to do every household work. 

Once, Saleha met with a distant uncle who assured her of giving a job in a garment factory. At one night, she left her maternal uncle's house for leading a better life. But, unfortunately, she was sold to a broker. After that, she was forced to be a sex worker.

She even had to take drugs every night. Once she felt sick. After many diagnoses, the doctor found that Saleha was infected with HIV. Since then, she is working with a local NGO (non-government organisation) as a volunteer to aware other sex workers about HIV.

Sources said 8,761 people have been infected with HIV virus in the country till December 1, 2021. Of them, 729 people were infected with the deadly virus in 2021 alone. Among the HIV-infected persons, 1,588 people died till to date while 205 people passed away in 2021.

HIV is a serious worldwide public health concern that claimed the lives of 36.3 million people so far.

According to the World Health Organisation, by the end of 2020, an estimated of 37.7 million persons were living with HIV. Furthermore, in 2020, 680 000 people died from HIV.

World AIDS Day falls on December 1 each year. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to be united in the fight against HIV, to show support for the people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illness.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said AIDS would be eradicated from Bangladesh by 2030. The government has taken up extensive plans to expand HIV testing services in all the district level hospitals, he added.

The government plans include establishing strong collaboration between the foreign affairs and the expatriates' welfare ministries for identifying migrants, ensuring child transmission programme of pregnant mother under the government's health service, and raising awareness among mass people.

According to the Prioritised HIV Prevention and Treatment Services for Key Population in Bangladesh project, there are 11 hospitals having treatment facilities of HIV patients. But, the patients are not visiting those hospitals.

It said of the HIV infected people, 84 percent of patients' age is between 19 and 49 years. And most of them got infected due to taking drugs in their vain.

Mohammad Aminul Islam Mian, director of National AIDS/STD Control, urged the people to lead a normal and clean life. - BSS