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September 28, 2007

HIV Custody Battle in India

Last week, a lower court judge in Jaipur, India, ruled that an HIV-positive mother was unfit to care for her daughter because of her HIV status.

The unnamed woman had contracted HIV from her husband, who died from AIDS-related illness four years ago. Last year, the woman’s in-laws threw her out of their house, sparking a custody battle over her 9-year-old daughter. The judge in last week’s hearing decided that it was in the girl’s best interest that she stay with her grandparents.

Due to public outcry from women’s rights organizations, the district court has put the decision on hold, setting October 11 as the date of the hearing.

Currently, 2.5 million people in India are living with HIV/AIDS, 40 percent of whom are women.

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