UNODC is cosponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - UNAIDS
Testimony: Cteii's struggle with drug abuse and HIV in NE India
My name is Ceylonthangi and my friends call me Cteii. I am 27 years old and have been working as UNODC CHARCA Peer Educator since 2005.
I lost my parents at an early age and was looked after by my paternal uncle. I felt abandoned and rejected. I was left with no say, no control over my life. I had a very lonely childhood. I managed to study upto class X but failed in my final exams. I took to playing football in school and also represented Mizoram in the Inter State Football Championship tournament. I dropped out of school and found belonging in a fraternity of friends and freedom in the unfettered joy of drugs at the age of 16 years. I was into hard drugs - injecting heroin for eight years and tasted more and more of shared syringes and despair. I saw several of my dear friends lose their lives to overdose. But even though I was increasingly sickened with the murky existence, I could still find no way out.
The day of reckoning came, when I visited an NGO (VOLCOMH) and agreed to get myself tested for HIV. The result was
HIV POSITIVE. I found it very difficult to accept my status and went into a state of depression. My peers from the Positive Network of Mizoram helped me to realize that "I can and have to be a light for all my other friends who are still in the dark". I became a member of the Positive Network of Mizoram and started working as Peer Educator under the UNODC CHARCA project offering support to people who run the risk of addiction and could fall prey to HIV/AIDS.
I am doing my best to see to it that fewer and fewer people fall prey to the virus. I have been traveling to other districts of Mizoram and have been speaking on the subject, as a UNODC CHARCA Peer Educator and have been addressing people in the church as well. Having come out into the open, I have a legitimate voice in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This in turn, has given me a sense of empowerment and confidence. I have formed self help groups in my locality and have been focusing on generating income for positive women. I have also been supported by an NGO (World Vision) and have poultry with 60 chickens.
I have made peace with my past, which I have put behind. "I am satisfied this way, I live for today".