Living with Dignity; HIV-sensitive Social Protection in India

Living with Dignity; HIV-sensitive Social Protection in India
Photo: Chandan Khanna/ Afp

Purshottam Jat, 42, has been living with HIV for the last 18 years. In 1998, his world came crashing down around him when he realized he was HIV positive during a business trip to Goa. A trucker by profession, he used to drive his truck across the country to supply marble from Rajasthan to southern parts of India. Purshottam did not want to die but could not find a single reason to live.

Highlights

  • UNDP in partnership with NACO and state AIDS Control Societies, has implemented a multi-pronged strategy to strengthen social protection to support affected communities in becoming resilient and coping better with the impact of HIV.
  • So far 1.04 million benefits have been availed from the government’s social protection schemes including pensions, scholarships, subsidized travel allowances to treatment centres and food subsidies
  • “UNDP has been helpful in providing low-cost, high impact social protection models that can assist the Government in scaling up social protection efforts” says Dr. Naresh Goel, Deputy Director General, NACO

Back home in Rajasthan, Purshottam consulted local doctors, who squarely blamed him for the condition he was in and offered no support or hope. His friends and relatives ostracized him and even advised his wife and three kids to stay away from him, predicting he would die soon.

Doctors at a city hospital in Jaipur gave him a sliver of hope, telling him that he could probably live for another three to four years with proper medication.

Determined to live for his family, Purshottam scrounged through his savings to get treated with prohibitively expensive medicines. It was then that he got to know about the grants provided by the State Government for people living with HIV (PLHIV). The Government of Rajasthan started providing free medicines and treatment to PLHIV under the Mukhya Mantri Jeevan Raksha Kosh. Purshottam also availed of a financial grant for children of PLHIV under the Palanhar Yojana and realized his dream of sending his kids to a good school.

Purshottam is one of nearly 2.17 million PLHIV in India, many battling stigma and financial despair in their bid to live with dignity. UNDP in partnership with India’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and state AIDS Control Societies, has implemented a multi-pronged strategy to strengthen social protection to support affected communities in becoming resilient and coping better with the impact of HIV. Its supported states like Rajasthan, in taking steps to extend social protection to people living with HIV. According to Dr. Naresh Goel, Deputy Director General, NACO. “UNDP has been helpful in providing low-cost, high impact social protection models that can assist the Government in scaling up social protection efforts.”  

As of 2017, almost 104,000 people infected and affected by HIV have benefited from the government’s social protection schemes including pensions, scholarships, subsidized travel allowances to treatment centres and food subsidies. Like Purshottam, these individuals can now aspire for a more resilient future and dream of a life unfettered by HIV.

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP India 
Go to UNDP Global