HIV Positive and Homeless: The Effect of HIV Stigmatisation

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Community Led Monitoring is a programme implemented by Sattva Consulting with the support of USAID PEPFAR. It is being carried out in 14 districts of Delhi, Maharashtra and Telangana, with the aim of improving HIV service delivery.


On 27th January, 2023, the Community Led Monitoring team received a call from a hospital in central Delhi, seeking support in providing a 22-year old homeless lady, Aisha (name changed to maintain anonymity), with shelter. 19 days prior to this, she had given birth and before that, had been abandoned by her husband as a result of testing positive for HIV. 

As per her assigned counsellor, Aisha was aware of her HIV status and had contracted it during a blood transfusion when pregnant with a child from a previous marriage, four  years ago. While she did begin Antiretroviral therapy (ART)* treatment in her hometown in Bihar, she failed to adhere to the treatment. At the same time, her family and in-laws struggled to accept the diagnosis, which eventually resulted in both families cutting ties with her.

Later on, Aisha got married again and moved to Delhi with her husband. They lived together for a few months before he left home, failing to support her. Unable to pay rent, she was left homeless and lived on the streets before moving into a homeless shelter, where her husband would occasionally visit her. 

On 2nd January, 2023, as she went into labour. She was brought into the hospital by her husband and a team from the shelter she was residing at. As per the protocol,  she and her husband were tested for HIV, where  she tested positive and he didn’t. Upon receiving these results, he claimed that the child was not his and left the hospital, and has  remained uncontactable since. The counsellors were later informed about her husband’s ill treatment towards her and her intention to remain separated from him.

Intervention from the Community Led Monitoring Team, Delhi 

  • During a weeklong search for a shelter that could accommodate Aisha and her child, the Community Led Monitoring team coordinated with multiple stakeholders and shelter homes.
  • On 2nd February, 2023, the team conducted a meeting with the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), the body that had assigned her a counsellor, to collect all relevant information. The next day, another meeting took place between the Community Led Monitoring, DCW and the selected shelter home’s team. The team also visited her doctor to gather all updates on her and her child’s health.
  • Even though the director of the shelter was well-versed with issues related to HIV, the team briefed her about her rights as a person living with HIV, government schemes that are available to her and other information related to HIV/AIDS stigmatisation and discrimination.
The Community Led Monitoring Team with the Delhi Commission for Women and the owner of the shelter home where Person A now resides


  • After the completion of all required formalities, Aisha and her child were shifted to a shelter home by DCW and the Police department.
  • She has resumed her ART treatment and has been advised about the importance of continuing it.
  • The CSC team and Community Led Monitoring team together have transferred her treatment plan to an ART center that is close to her shelter.
  • The Community Led Monitoring team remains in touch with Aisha, to ensure that she is connected to the required services whenever needed.

*Antiretroviral therapy  limits the multiplication of the HIV virus to improve the overall wellbeing of the infected person. It is recommended to all people that test positive for HIV

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