HIV/AIDS Care in the Heart of Delhi

Believe it or not, this photo is of the largest garbage dump in Delhi. It is massive. If you look closely, you can see people at the top (and numerous vultures). These are families who sort through the fresh garbage for anything useful they can sell. This is called rag picking, and it is how they support their families as they struggle to survive in the slums.

Twenty years ago, EHA began a project called Shalom near these slums to minister to people with HIV/AIDS. Many of their patients are widows whose husbands transmitted the disease to them and/or their children and subsequently died, leaving them to fend for themselves. Another large group is transgenders who have nowhere else to go. Most are married fathers who live as women. No matter who the patient is, being treated for HIV/AIDS in a government hospital is next to impossible due to discrimination. No one will touch them, and at times, they post a large sign over their heads saying “Universal Precaution: HIV/AIDS Infection.” So much for patient privacy.

Shalom ministers to these people in many ways. They provide monthly food hampers to help the families have enough to eat. They help the patients access free HIV medications from the government hospital, and they prescribe pain medication when needed. They train them in good hygiene practices and wise life choices. They teach them what is right and wrong. All who receive help from them know where Shalom stands morally and spiritually.

One woman came in needing surgery on a bad break in her leg, but she had no money. The staff chipped in and paid for the surgery to be performed at a government hospital. Just the pins needed for her leg were $600, a huge sum. Shalom staff cared for her in their facility for four months because she had nowhere else to turn. In her time of crisis, they supported her. Since she was well educated and a reader, they gave her books by John Piper and C.S. Lewis. She now believes in God’s son and His saving grace.