HIV/AIDS is a rapidly growing problem in Nepal, fueled by ignorance about HIV prevention and brutal discrimination against people with AIDS. Many children with HIV are forced to leave their schools, and their husbands often abandon infected women. Because of this stigma, many people avoid being tested and hide their symptoms of AIDS for as long as possible. According to a U.N. study, more than 80% of Nepalis with HIV have not been diagnosed.
The New Life Centre provides excellent lifesaving treatment to children with HIV/AIDS while teaching their caretakers, most of whom also have HIV, to live hygienically and cook nutritious meals. This training dramatically reduces the risk of acquiring the illnesses that make HIV develop into AIDS, and lets infected people lead fulfilling lives. During the months that children and their guardians spend at the Center, they receive food, housing, and all medical treatment for free.
The New Life Centre is the only facility in Nepal that uses a holistic approach to helping HIV-positive children. Its nurses, nutritionist, doctor, and other staff provide children with education and enriching activities and caretakers with training in nutrition, health, literacy, and income generation . Besides this The New Life Centre provides for both; nutritious meals, 24-hour medical care, and counseling to improve their self-confidence and help them manage the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
The New Life Centre will continue to let children with HIV lead fulfilling lives, and can expand to include:
- Community outreach about HIV awareness and prevention
- Follow-up visits to monitor the health of kids who have been discharged
- The construction of additional Centers in areas with high rates of child HIV/AIDS
This comprehensive care model is a key to the Centre’s success. Most children arrive with full-blown AIDS, including illnesses such as tuberculosis, malnutrition, and hepatitis, and return home with only HIV, ready to go to school and enjoy a happy childhood. If kids with HIV live hygienically, eat a nutritious diet, and try to avoid infections, they can typically expect to lead full and meaningful lives for around 25 years. By that time, it’s likely that additional treatments will be available to extend their lives even further. Most of the children don’t even need to take anti-retroviral drugs, which are difficult for people in rural and remote areas to obtain.