Caring for someone who has no hope of survival is truly the work of God. HIV/AIDS is our modern day equivalent of diseases like the black death of the middle ages.
Luckily for us, there is treatment available to keep the disease under control, though we are yet to find a way to cure it or wipe it out completely.
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and leaves one susceptible to the onset of various other infections. If left untreated, it can take the virus 10 to 15 years to completely destroy one's immune system to the point where the body can no longer defend itself.
AIDS is not a virus but a set of symptoms caused by the HIV virus. This is when a person’s immune system is too weak to fight off any infection and the person develops certain defining symptoms and illnesses as a result. This is the last stage of the HIV virus and will certainly lead to death if left untreated. Though HIV is an incurable disease, an infected person can still live a healthy and full life if they undergo the right treatment.
The Sneha Charitable Trust is run by the Camillians of the "Order of the Ministers of Sick", founded by St. Camillus around 450 years ago. Their mission is to care for and provide treatment and support to the sick, especially those who are marginalised.
At Sneha Sadan, the mission is to be a positive force in addressing the comprehensive needs of the sick living with terminal infirmities and loneliness; to ensure their dignity and overall quality of life by motivating, caring, supporting and rehabilitating them, with priority for community care and palliative care of PLHA and for those who are terminally ill.
The care givers at Sneha Sadan, Mangalore, under the guidance of the Director Fr. Tiji, accept all those who come to them without any prejudice or discrimination. People from all walks of life come here to receive care and treatment.
The cut in the funding to NACO by Narendra Modi’s government has caused a lack of funding to various NGOs all over India, who are now struggling to care for the afflicted.
Since the cut in funding, Sneha Sadan has been receiving help from generous and benevolent people from in and around Mangalore, to help sustain the organisation so that they can continue to care for the sick.
Sneha Sadan also had to make changes to the way they function in order to adjust to the budget constraints. Since the adults are capable of managing by themselves once they are healthier, they are sent back to their families to live their lives with the proper treatment. They now focus on children who have been orphaned by the indiscriminate disease and look after their upbringing and nutrition as well as their treatment.
They also depend a lot on volunteer doctors and physiotherapists to help look after the residents. There are plenty of good-hearted professionals who offer their services to the residents.
There are many other people who help in many different ways to help keep the organisation running.
Budget constraints are a big problem for organisations of all kinds but it seems more pressing for those who selflessly care for those who have no one else for them.
Supporting them and making sure that they are able to continue their good work is a responsibility we must all consider as paramount.
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