How HIV found its way to a remote corner of the Himalayas

Photo of How HIV found its way to a remote corner of the Himalayas

Like many men from Nepal’s Accham district, Sarpa migrated to India for work only to return with HIV. Thankfully, a lessening of stigma – and a greater emphasis on treatment and testing – are making such stories less commonplace

Adarsh and Numa are the only two HIV-positive kids at their school, and everyone knows it. In this mud-and-brick village, so high up Nepal’s far-western hills that it takes two days by 4x4 to reach the nearest town, no secrets stay secret for long.

Like nearly every other man of working age here in Achham – a remote, mountainous district where many women are still banished to cowsheds when they menstruate – Adarsh and Numa’s father migrated to India for work. And like many other migrants seeking wealth and opportunity beyond Nepal’s borders, he returned home with a very different legacy to the one he anticipated: a life-threatening virus.

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