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HIV infected child who fought for justice dies

A teenaged HIV-positive girl who, along with her brother, was the face of the struggle for causes of AIDS patients in Kerala, died at a government hospital today.



Thiruvananthapuram: A teenaged HIV-positive
girl who, along with her brother, was the face of the struggle
for causes of AIDS patients in Kerala, died at a government
hospital today.

15-year-old Bency was admitted to the Sree Avittam
Tirunal hospital here on May 3 and died of encephalitis this
afternoon, hospital authorities said.

The siblings from Kottiyam in Kollam district, whose
parents died years ago after being infected with the disease,
had to bear various social discrimination including ouster
from as many as four schools due to protests from parents of
other children.

Their plight got national and international attention
with human rights bodies and NGOs working for AIDs patients
taking up their case. Later the state intervened and made
arrangements for their studies in a Government school near
their home.

The UNICEF also intervened on their behalf and conducted
campaigns within and outside the country for their proper
care.

After the death of their father in 1997 and mother in
2000, also due to AIDS, the children had been under the
protection of their grandparents from maternal side. Their
grandfather Geeverghese John died three years ago and since
then they had been under the care of Salamma, their grand
mother.

With the plight of the siblings getting highlighted, the
Health Minister in the then NDA Government Sushma Swaraj,
during a function here, had said they would be seen as a
"symbol" in the fight against social discrimination against
AIDS patients.

Following this, the central PSU HLL Lifecare adopted them
and has been meeting their medical expenses.

-PTI

From Zee News

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