BIJAPUR: Striving to treat the infected and emancipate the masses from the stigma of HIV/AIDS is the motto of The Society of the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes (SJT).
StJoseph’s Health and Community Centre, Bijapur has 6 sisters, 15 medical staff, 6 counsellors and 4 outreach staff, who take care of the patients affected with HIV/ AIDS. The centre currently has 13 HIV/AIDS infected children who are orphans and few adults who are infected with Tuberculosis.
Talking about the treatment given for the HIV-infected TB patients, Sister Reeta, senior head said, “ART(Universal antiretroviral therapy) is given to patients which is provided by the government and also 7 tablets with 2 HIV tablets, totally 9 tablets they take every day, apart from that antibiotic and gastritis tablets.”
“We take care of the patients and we don’t charge for anything except for medicines unlike other doctors who recommend multiple tests and charge extra,”she added.
Three volunteers Barbara Durcova Mo, Agata Caletkova and Caroline from Slovakia are working to help the HIV infected.
“I am here from the past 6 months to help the kids and I am seeing so many people infected with HIV and TB. In my country only 1% of the population is affected by these diseases,” said Barbara.
SJTwas founded in France in 1843. It has branches in 14 countries and they are serving in India for 130 years. They have three other centres in Sumanahalli, Bangalore; Kothapalli Mitta, Chittor District, Andhra Pradesh and Kottur,Tamil Nadu.