Avinash, 35, grew up in a family of five brothers. He left school after primary school, and then worked in a mattress shop. He never married. About four years ago, Avinash began to feel very sick and weak and lost a lot of weight. He was sent to Sahara, where he was tested. At the time, he knew there was a sickness called HIV/AIDS, but nothing else about it. Avinash’s family used to take care of him, but they would cover their noses and mouths with their shirts when they gave him food or even spoke to him. “I started to get very tensed up emotionally. I thought I was going to kill myself under a lorry or a train. Even my mother and brothers used to say, ‘sit aside, don’t talk to me.'” To this day, when Avinash goes home for a visit, he has to sleep outside in his brother’s auto rickshaw.
When Avinash arrived at Sahara, he needed help even to bathe or go to the bathroom. Now he is much bigger and stronger. He is so grateful for the care he received here that when he recovered, he decided to stay and work. He runs errands, brings chai and escorts clients to the doctor. He also counsels clients with his own story of recovery. “I tell them, look at the positive in life, do some work, and don’t be dependent.”