Frank, 32, is the son of a night watchman. He finished only the second standard in school, but earned a good living as a mason, making 6000 Rs (about $133) a month. He married in 2003 and had a son. In 2004 he fell sick for the first time. He had a bad cold and oral thrush. He went to a public hospital for a cyst on his thigh and was tested for HIV there. At the time he didn’t know much about HIV. Now, he knows it is transmitted sexually.
When Frank’s wife tested positive as well, she became very angry and began to abuse him. She blamed him for their illness and said, “You are worse than a vagabond.” His parents were angry as well, but his mother still accepted and took care of him. Frank first came to Sahara in 2005, but he left against his doctor’s advice and tried to go back to work. In October 2006 he fell very sick again, and came back. Frank has several neurological symptoms: right side paralysis, memory loss, and convulsions.
After coming to Sahara , Frank improved within a few months. His convulsions are under control with medication and he doesn’t feel itchy any more. He is walking with a cane and slowly regaining the use of his right side. Frank would like to tell people that HIV is nothing to be afraid of. “Those who are infected with HIV shouldn’t be shunned. I got infected by mistake. If people would only sit down with me and talk to me and eat with me, I would feel better.”