Daisy David is one of 34 million people around the world living with the HIV/AIDS virus. In India, where an estimated 2.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, Daisy has dedicated her life to raising awareness and fighting for the rights of those affected.
"After I was diagnosed, I faced extreme discrimination from relatives, family, church, neighbors and friends," Daisy said. "It was shocking for me to accept it."
Daisy's world completely changed after she was diagnosed with HIV in 1998. It was her initial diagnosis, Daisy says, that brought her from being a namesake Christian to a devoted Christ follower. Following her diagnosis, she fully surrendered her life to the Lord, and even got baptized at her local church.
"One of my friends told me, 'Daisy, having HIV is not a sin,'" Daisy says. "It sounds simple, but those words are imprinted on my heart forever. It helped me come out of my fear."
Aside from life at church, living with HIV at work proved impossible. She had to quit her job as a lab technician because of the discrimination she faced and as a result, began working for an organization called INP+ (India Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS). She started working there as an outreach worker, and eventually went on to receive a master's degree in psychology in order to better serve the men and women she was counseling in the field.
"I had to get a list of people from the blood bank that tested positive for HIV, and I would visit their homes and provide counseling to the families," Daisy says. "Sometimes it would take me weeks to locate the families in the slums or villages, and I would arrive only to find out that the person had died, leaving behind a widow or orphan. Looking at the conditions of those widows and children pained and burdened my heart very much."