Rajiv was admitted at one of the better hospitals in Thane. They found out he had HIV. He knew all along
Rajiv has been on anti-retroviral therapy. From the government clinic in town.
He is very sick.
When he started his medications he started to get diarrhoea. Rajiv is sure its the meds that did it. He can hardly breathe now because he feels so weak.
Rajiv knew about his HIV for some years. His family did not until today.
The hospital ordered a battery of tests. He is sullen and alone. His father and other brothers found out that Rajiv's wife is also HIV positive.
Rajiv does not want to live any more. He says he does not want treatment. He just wants an end.
One of our JSK staff - who has HIV himself - went to meet Rajiv this afternoon. They talked in the general ward Rajiv was admitted in. A screen was brought in to bring some privacy. It didn't seem to do much good. Rajiv is finding it hard to talk at all.
We are all a bit like Rajiv. There are things in us that we do not want others to see. To have it ripped off and our un-mentionables become public...
When will we get over our denial?
It struck me that actually the church is to be the place where we let it all hang out. Where we should be able to gather the courage to tell what is deep inside - and allow the healing touch to renew us from within.
That's one of the functions of taking part in the Lord's supper. To examine ourselves. To speak up and confess. To allow truth and justice to sweep out the rubbish we hold on to - or tell ourselves we will clean up later - but which lingers on.
We just met Rajiv. We hope he will allow us to become his friends. We hope he will survive - besides his crushed spirit - he seems to be suffering from TB and pneumonia as well as the persistent diarrhoea. He is a precious man.