To draw strength from each other and fight social stigma, HIV carriers in Jharkhand have formed an association .
The Jharkhand Network for People Living with HIV has 200 members. More are likely to join. The association will educate people to treat HIV carriers in a humane manner. It will also seek assistance from the government to ensure adequate healthcare facilities and proper accommodation for the infected.
'Driving out HIV infected people from homes is not a solution. It is not easy to fight the disease in isolation.
If HIV infected people get sympathy from family members and society they will be able to live longer,' said Ranjeet Kumar Dubey, secretary of the association.
Dubey, 25, has been living with the disease for eight years.
An association spokeswoman told IANS: 'We hope the organisation will help change the mindset of people. At times even the doctors treat us badly.'
'When a dentist learnt I was a HIV carrier he refused to treat me,' she said.
In Jharkhand, two patients - a pregnant woman and a truck driver - were denied treatment when the hospital learnt they were HIV carriers.
As per official estimates, there are about a thousand HIV carriers in Jharkhand. About 30 deaths have been reported in the state.