India: In India, Helping People Living with HIV/AIDS Sustain Income (May 2009)


Twenty-eight year old Shanti* and her husband were diagnosed with HIV seven years ago. While they are in good health and adhere to regular antiretroviral therapy, they worry about their economic security and the futures of their two children.

To combat this doubt, the couple joined a program supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that works to enhance the income of its HIV-positive beneficiaries. The program partners with a private telecommunications company to provide public telephone call booth facilities to people living with HIV/AIDS at a subsidized rate. This partnership came to be known as the "Coin Box Scheme" because the telephone instruments provided by the company have a usage charge of one rupee.

With the income Shanti and her husband earned from their farming business, they purchased a "Coin Box" telephone facility and had it installed near a milk depot close to her house. This PEPFAR-supported endeavor has earned Shanti and many other families an additional monthly income of 800-1,000 rupees per month ($20 - $25).

This amount has improved the quality of their life, she said.

"Coming to [the program] has not only improved our physical health, but it has also helped us to earn and save some money. I have even made new friends in this process," said Shanti.

*Name has been changed.


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