On World AIDS Day, December 1, even as the focus is on the larger issue of how to arrest the rapid spread of the killer disease, there is a section of infected people that cries for more attention and care.
In India, about 14 per cent of all HIV-infected and AIDS patients are children.
The plight of many of them is compounded by the fact that they have lost their parents to the disease, and they don't have a home to call their own. Being HIV-infected, their relatives and society have abandoned them.
Like other children, all they yearn for is care and empathy, which is absent because of the taboo attached to AIDS.
For some HIV-infected children in Chennai, there is a silver lining in the form of the Community Health Education Society Ashram, run by Dr Manorama.
Text: Shobha Warrier. Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj