Rape victim to HIV infected to AIDS Activist

 Balakrishna (30), a gay was raped by eight other homosexual men, after which he has contracted the HIV. Instead of losing hope, Balakrsihna has become a ray of hope for several other HIV positive people. He is spreading AIDS awareness and helping HIV positive people get treatment.

On February 18, 2006, at around 7.30 pm, Balakrishna was waiting for a bus at Jalahalli Cross, after visiting a friend. “An auto stopped by me and the driver and another man asked me to get in. I refused saying that I will go by bus. But they pulled me in and took me to a forest in Hesaraghatta. Three bikes too followed and there I was raped by the men. Looking at my behaviour they might have known that I was gay,” he said.

Balakrishna was raped and beaten by the eight men form 8 pm to 6 am and then thrown away. “They forced me to have oral sex and anal sex with them. When I relented they beat me and burned me with cigarette butts. They also poured liquor on me. The insult and physical torture was so much that I pray that no one goes through such a thing,” he said. At around six in the morning, the men threw him in the jungle and sped away.

“I walked to the road and managed to reach Rajmahal hospital in RMV extention, where I was admitted for one and half months. The bleeding went on for more than a month,” he said.

Three months after the incident, Balakrishna went for a HIV test, and was tested positive. “A month before the rape, I had donated blood and had undergone a HIV test too, but then I had tested negative. I was also careful to always use a condom. I am sure I got HIV from the rapists,” he said.

Though Balakrishna’s world came crashing down, he did not lose hope. “If you contarct HIV, it doesn’t mean that you have no life. Instead of brooding and locking up yourself, you have to come out and live a life. Brooding will take you to death. Instead it is better to come out and make use to the opportunities that life gives,” he said.

He had faced ridicule from people, but his family stood by him. “My neighbours ridiculed me. People in the gay community too used to go far from me. But my family stood by me and fought with the neighbours. Now they are fine and are friendly with me. In fact many come to me to clear the doubts on HIV and AIDS,” he said.

Balakrishna, who had lost his job in a cafeteria of a BPO after his employees got to know that he was gay joined Sangama, a NGO working for sexual minorities and went on to become the Executive Director of Sadhane, a NGO which works for HIV positive people. “I create awareness on AIDS, and work for HIV positive people. I take them to hospitals and see that go for check ups regularly. I also work for the HIV positive people in Bowring Hospital,” he said.

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