In a poignant move, students from colleges in Chennai have made friends with a HIV positive person on the occasion of World Friendship Day. Each student accepted a HIV positive person as a friend and promised to deepen the friendship.
"I came to know that these people are normal in a way. They should not be shunned from society. They too should be given an opportunity to be themselves," one girl told NDTV. Another added, "We thought we'd do something different. Why go around and hang out with friends. By being with them, we can make a difference. It was some kind of a reflection and introspection for us."
A J Hariharan, Secretary, Indian Community Welfare Organisation, which organized the initiative, said that this initiative had evoked a tremendous response and they could spread it across the whole state. "This is a great investment on the youth to ensure the dignity of the HIV positive people," he said.
The stigma attached to AIDS is often deadlier than the disease itself and this initiative gives hope to those affected.