In a story of remarkable courage in the face of adversity, Kiranjit Kaur is a beacon of light to all afflicted by the deadly virus. The 35-year-old Sikh woman of Indian origin and AIDS victim has turned into Malaysia's poster girl for people living with HIV/AIDS. She is one of the first infected by HIV to have gone public about it.
Her emotional and mental strength is considered amazing by many, but Kiranjit feels that despite her condition "it is not the end of the road".
In fact, she feels it is her purpose to put a face to HIV/AIDS. "I am here to help the 'positive' community and empower them and tell them they are not alone," nstonline.com quoted Kiranjit as saying.
She said there were many people who were under the impression that it would not happen to them. "It only takes one time. Look at me," she said.
She contracted HIV in 1996 through her husband, a former drug addict who has since died.
In 2005, when Perak mufti Da-tuk Seri Harussani Zakaria suggested HIV/AIDS carriers should be cast away on an island to make sure that they did not infect others, Kiranjit and four "positive" people had a news conference and imparted information about the disease. "We are human beings. We hold jobs and we are productive. HIV/AIDS is not about people who go to prostitutes or drug addicts.
It's also about housewives and children. It is in households. People say I'm a victim because I contracted it from my husband. But to a prostitute they say: 'Oh, she deserves it'. It's not about blame any more," said Kiranjit, who holds a full-time job with the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Services.