Poverty has driven an HIV positive woman in Chhattisgarh to offer her newborn daughter for sale. No one wants the baby as she too is diagnosed with AIDS.
Goldy, in her 30s, has been visiting public places in Kondagaon in Bastar district, about 220 km from here, to sell off her baby girl ever since she was discharged from the government hospital there Aug 15 after delivery.
The local administration, which woke up to the issue this week, has stopped her from offering the baby for sale and arrangements are being made for her treatment.
"She was holding a week-old baby in her arms and asking people to buy the child so that she could get money for food," R.P. Pandey, chief medical officer of Bastar district, told IANS on telephone.
"Some people who showed initial interest in adopting the baby refused to do so after a test conducted in the government hospital confirmed that both the mother and the child are HIV positive," Pandey said.
"We do not have much details of her family background. She is refusing to give details. But it's a very touching and emotional case; we do not know how to help her," Pandey added.
Bastar's district collector Ganesh Shankar Mishra told IANS over telephone: "I have come to know about the matter... The administration will fully cooperate and will not allow her to sell the kid. I am arranging for advanced treatment of both the mother and the kid at the government hospital in Raipur.
"I have talked to the chief medical officer in Raipur to admit the mother and the baby and take care of all their medical needs."
Despite various measures taken by the government, AIDS continues to spread in the country. A UNAIDS report claimed in 2006 that India had the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS, an estimated 5.7 million infections. India's National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), however, put the figure at between 2.5 million and 3.1 million earlier this month.
People suffering from the disease still face isolation from society. Goldy's miserable condition is a consequence of the ignorance of people about the disease.
Earlier this month, a baby in New Delhi was abandoned twice before she was rescued by an NGO due to the belief that she was HIV positive.
Dumped by her mother in an auto-rickshaw soon after she was born, she moved from the hands of a poor childless couple to the house of a medical representative before reaching the NGO.