29 September, 2020

HIV And The Hive Of Security

It's a community on the make. The AIDS scare spawns its own collective antidote.

HIV And The Hive Of Security
A woman weeps inconsolably at the Sangli office of Sangram, an NGO working to empower HIV-positive sex workers. Left with an HIV-positive granddaughter and memories of her husband and son-in-law lost to AIDS, she has come to seek solace from Meena Saraswathi Seshu, Sangram’s 42-year-old foun-der-general secretary lauded by the Human Rights Watch as a ‘Global Rights Defender’ for fighting AIDS as a human rights issue. "The epidemic is no longer restricted to high-risk groups," the woman says. "Too many orphans, widows are fighting for their lives."

Extolled as the "AIDS and human rights hero of South Asia", Seshu spells as much hope for housewives, like the visitor, as the stigmatised women hustled into the vagaries of the world’s oldest profession.

Seshu is not one to subscribe to prohibition. Her belief in medical and social intervention has seen her weather many attacks on life and character to successfully enable over 5,000 brothel-based and itinerant CSWs (commercial sex workers), both male and female, across seven districts in Maharashtra and Karnataka to...



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