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UNDP HIV A 043
Vasanti Shinde, age 26, who is HIV positive, at home with her daughters Vrinda, 8 and Shruda, 10. Shinde works for the Save Foundation which represents the rights of HIV positive people. ...Like many of the women who work for and with the Save Foundation, Vasanti Shinde, age 26, only found out that she was HIV positive after her husband became seriously ill with an AIDS-related illness five years ago. Vasanti's husband subsequently died. Vasanti now lives with her two younger daughters Shrudha, age 10, and Vrinda, 8, in the one-room home of her brother in Sangli city. Vasanti's elder daughter, eleven year old Shubhada is being brought up by her paternal grandmother and sees her mother during holidays. Vasanti knows that Shubhada is HIV negative and Shruda is positive but anxiety over the result means that she refuses to have Vrinda tested for HIV. For a monthly income of Rs.3500, Vasanti works as a field officer and counselor for the Save Foundation. She works in the positive-people's pharmacy for no pay. Her work with the Save Foundation entitles her access to a credit union which provides low interest loans covering medical expenses. Though first-line drugs and homeopathic medicine keep Vasanti healthy, she is prone to infection and recently suffered a bout of influenza. Vasanti is completely open about her HIV status and most of her neighbours know that she is HIV positive. Vasanti says that "I used to feel like I was going to die. Now, because of the Save Foundation, I feel like I'm going to live." ..Photo: Tom Pietrasik.Sangli, Maharashtra. India.August 28th 2008.