Efforts by a District Collector in Kerala Helps HIV Positive Girl Return to College

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In a win against discrimination of HIV positive people, a girl in Kerala who vacated her hostel last month returned to her college, thanks to District Collector P Balakiran’s dedicated campaign.

The first year student of Wadi Huda Institute of Research and Advanced Studies in Kannur faced  discrimination in her hostel and college when she came out in the open about being HIV positive. Many parents and students had opposed to her staying in the hostel as they believed HIV would spread. Unable to cope with the pressure, she decided she would leave, putting her entire academic future into risk. As her house was four hours away from the college, she would not be able to travel to and fro everyday.

When the District Collector of Kannur, P Balakiran, got wind of this, he decided he would put an end to the discrimination caused by ignorance.

District Collector P Balakiran, Kannur

District Collector P Balakiran, Kannur

After talking to the girl and consulting the college authorities, he put together an awareness campaign for the students and parents. Several health officials were involved in the four hours long workshop, where a lot of doubts and insecurities were cleared.

The efforts paid off as they managed to make the students and parents understand that there was nothing wrong with being around HIV positive people. Glad that she can go back to her hostel and resume her studies, he said in a quote to PTI, “The college authorities were very supportive throughout. Now other students and their parents are also convinced.”

Previously, the girl had difficulty getting into schools too. In an effort to rid the community of their fears and clear the air about the disease, Balakiran said that he plans to conduct a district-wide awareness drive on HIV.

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