Sudesh portrait


Mumbai, India


I have faced a lot of problems. In 2005, my wife died—of non-AIDS-related causes—and I thought, “What have I got in life other than misfortune?” I distanced myself from everyone and was very worried that my children did not have a mother. I wondered how I would look after them, but I realized that I had to, so I did not think about anything else.

In 2008, my body was becoming thinner, and I weighed just thirty-two kilos [seventy pounds]. I suspected that there was something wrong with me, so I got my blood tested. The doctor said I had HIV. I did not know how I had gotten it. I hadn’t gone anywhere. I once got an injection, and I suspect I got HIV via the injection needle. I think the doctor had not changed it for a clean one. I told the doctors that I did not have money. My children said not to be stressed. From 2004 to 2007, I spent most of my money on treatment. After selling my house, my money ran out. Again, I had to tell the doctor that affording medicine was difficult and that I had sold my house. He gave me a month’s worth of medicine. I could not believe his kindness.

That is how my life has been—spending all my money on medicine, taking pills, and raising my children. I take care of the home and, after this, if I get time, then I do a little business. I buy and sell kerosene. I have not been ill in the last eight years and my weight is up to fifty-five kilos [121 pounds], but I do not work. People help our family. We have a place to live, which my father built. All my earnings go toward my medicine.

My children know that I have HIV. My daughter told me that everyone takes medicine, and it is OK if I do too. As for the people around me, I have not said anything to them. They think that I have tuberculosis. My children are happy now. I got three of my daughters married, which is one stressful thing finished. My son is in his last year of school, and in two to three years, he will be able to stand on his own feet.

Meanwhile, I am alone. I don’t have a partner. I fold my hands and accept this. This is my life, and my life will go on.