September 16, 2009

quacksEvery one wants to get better.

People who have HIV are no exception.

Despite years of research and colossal sums spent world-wide, we still do not have a ‘gold-standard’ HIV cure.  Such a a set of medications would be taken for a specific period of time – would totally knock out the HIV from the body – and which could then be stopped without the virus showing up again.

In the absence of a ‘gold standard’ cure – we are pleased to say that we have a series of medicines which are quite effective in suppressing the virus – and allowing the body’s immune system to function normally again.  The challenge with these meds, however, is that they have to be taken life-long.  These Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) drugs demand high levels of monitoring and adherence.  A person who starts on ART must take the meds at least 95% of the time for them to work properly.  Anything less can lead to resistance.  Most of us don’t even take a 5 day course of anti-biotics.  The challenges of taking ART drugs life-long is daunting.

Enter the quacks.

There are sadly plenty of people who make money of other people’s misery – and in providing false hopes.   Any number of charlatans claim ‘cures for HIV’ through various medical systems: ayurveda, unnani, homeopathy etc.  Some of the cures involve various incantations.  Others are said to be based on herbal medications.  All are based on fantasy.  None have been shown to cure – over time – across populations.

Each person with HIV wants to be fully cured.  It is disheartening to hear medical doctors repeatedly say that ‘no known total cure’ is available at this point.  Then when someone comes up with a statement that a cure is possible after all, when neigbours and friends urge them to ‘give it a try’, when family members sacrifice money to be able to ‘take the cure’ – many people with HIV end up taking the plunge into such therapies.

We wish we could have a happy end to this story.  The figures who are behind the fraudulent advertisement seen on a local train (above) are still around.

Please contact us if you have questions about treatment for HIV/AIDS.  There are real things that can be done.  There are cost effective ways to live long and healthily.  There are no short cuts though!

At Jeevan Sahara Kendra we have had over 1000 contacts in the last 7 years.  We are currently looking after about 200 friends with HIV in their homes.  We can help with real-life advice – based on working with real people – and seeing real change.

Don’t believe the quacks.  The truth will set you free.

New hands to serve! A new heart to share…

September 7, 2009

One of the great things about the Jeevan Sahara Kendra family is that we have people from almost every part of India.

HIV affects every community, every caste, every economic group.  And in Thane city, besides our many Marathi brothers and sisters with HIV, we also meet people from all over our country – who are living and working here – and who are HIV positive.

We are glad to have staff from Maharashtra, UP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Orissa.  Currently we also have UBS interns from W. Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Our family just got a little bigger – JSK is happy to announce the joining of Sasmita Rani Aind .  Sasmita is a are nurses and has joined us as an answers to prayers – all the way from Orissa.  She has helped bring our nursing strength up to speed and we are now able to admit sick people with HIV again for curative care.  Besides her training and experience – Sasmita also brings her caring hands and tender heart.

Welcome aboard!


Post script:  November 2009

Sadly, we also have to report that another nurse who came with Sasmita and promised to work with us has gone back on her word and returned to her home in Orissa.  At JSK we have a sad little list of people who say “Praise the Lord” and give commitments to serve but then go back on their promises.  While we wish them well in future endeavours we know that true prosperity is based on integrity.   In the meantime, we have fixed our eyes to continue to face the challenges of caring for people with HIV.