Varamathi is 16 years old. She has three siblings but she is the only one who is HIV positive. Her family situation is difficult. Her father is a violent alcoholic. He beats his wife, spends his money on alcohol and women, and refuses to see staff or anyone who wishes to help. He also refuses to take HIV medication. Varamathi now lives in a rented house with her siblings and mother, but her father often visits them when he is drunk. There are regular fights at home, and once her father was jailed but only for one night as the police took pity on him for being HIV positive.
Her mother is struggling to pay for the basic necessities and the children’s schooling. Varamathi worries about the future and endures a lot of stress because of the family situation.
Varamathi is part of the family support programme at Arogya Agam, which provides her family with a monthly grant to secure her the financial means for her HIV treatment. Varamathi has also enrolled in a two-year programme for adolescents living with HIV to build their capacities as peer educators and leaders on HIV and other related issues. She has attended the first camp where she gained new knowledge, but also built self-confidence, made new friends and found a space where she could be a 16-year-old girl for once.
The local women’s federation is trying to help the family get back on their feet and hoping to convince the father to go to counselling.