Kushtagi | Published on: November 28, 2010

Please take a careful look at this picture.

Do you see a scar going round the neck?

That scar should be on our collective conscience.

“Ramesh” (not his real name) is just 25. The industrialization of our brave new India drove him from his agricultural land in rural Karnataka and made him a truck driver. When he got pain in his tummy and eventually was given a diagnosis of HIV, that world rejected him. Pain, HIV and the rejection together forced him to try to hang himself. “I did not succeed even in that,” he says ruefully.

How many thousands of desperate men in every state in India are like him, in pain and suffering, rejected by the medical system and the society?

Enormous advances have been made in India in developing a care system for those with HIV, but that system does not yet embrace pain relief or palliative care.

“Ramesh” is one of a small minority of people with HIV and pain who get care and pain relief. He has been taken in by Asha Jyoti, a care centre run by “Samraksha” in Kushtagi, Northern Karnataka.

Pain management plan

Over the last two months Pallium India has been collaborating with Samraksha to bring in routine pain assessment and symptom control as part of the routine care at Asha Jyoti.

There is a long way to go yet at Asha Jyoti, but a good beginning has been made, and an amazingly sincere team is doing a wonderful job.

But how long will it be before pain relief and palliative care become essential components of HIV care in India?

Watch more video testimonials on Samraksha’s Youtube channel which includes Paramesh’s on Asha Jyoti in Kushtagi.

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