A few weeks ago our AIDSLink Nepal team took a trip to the far west of the country to conduct HIV awareness workshops. The gruelling bus trip there took 48 hours!
The village they went to is very isolated and the villagers were excited to learn about HIV and AIDS. They taught them about what HIV is, transmission, prevention, etc. Initially they asked people “what is HIV?” Some said that they had heard a little from the radio, but nothing much.
Many of the men in this area go to India to work as migrant labourers. Consequently there were very few men in the village. The men work away from home for long periods of time and sometimes contract HIV in India. When they return to Nepal they infect their wives, who, because they don’t know they have become infected with HIV may also transmit it to their children during pregnancy.
A high school teacher told them that many years ago a man came back from working in India who was sick and had HIV. Finally the people in the village found out that he was HIV positive. This caused a lot of fear and misunderstandings, eventually the man died.
The response to the training was very encouraging; the villagers said they learnt a lot of things. “Before we had just heard a bit about HIV, now we know more and we can share these things within our community. This programme has been very helpful.