Story of Pradipkumar Singh, an HIV Positive Bodybuilder from Manipur

Aids doesn’t define him. Strength and courage do. HIV is a disease just like other diseases. Human beings are not disease it is a part of them. This is the story of fighting for acceptance.

AIDS doesn’t define him, strength and courage do!

Pradipkumar Singh is an HIV survivor who was born in a village three kilometers away from Imphal.  It’s the story of the man who refused to surrender to the cruelty of the fate and emerged much stronger than ever, physically and mentally both.

He isolated himself and was ashamed to be open about this condition due to fear of embarrassment.

It has been a long journey for him with a fight for acceptance. Self-acceptance is the key but social acceptance is equally important to remove this stigma. Still, he has overcome this stigma and shown the world what the HIV-positive is not the end of the road. With a sheer determination he started his career in fitness and bodybuilding and went on to win Mr.Manipur, Mr.India, and Mr. Soth Asia titles. He also won bronze medal in Mr.World contest.

He feels that there is so much talent in the Northeast and so much craze for bodybuilding, but all goest to waste because it remains unnoticed by public and government most of the times.

The journey of self-acceptance wasn’t easy for him. The initial years after being diagnosed with the HIV virus were the toughest. He was blank at that time though tried to remain strong. He became physically weak. It was more of a psychological attack on him. The worst part was seeing his friends and close ones drifting away from him. People used to ridicule and mock him, passersby would address him as ‘that HIV man’.

All this happened because of small mistake. He had a very troubled childhood. He started taking drugs when he was in 6th or 7th standard. He tried to get over this addiction but it was not so easy. The kids used to share the same syringe for injecting the drug and reuse it again and again. They didn’t buy the new one out of fear of being caught. He was not aware of the dreadful consequence of this and fell prey to this deadly disease.

In 1999, he fell ill and it was an attack of viral fever. His condition got worsened day by day; he was hospitalized twice in the same year. At the age of 30, he got to know that he was HIV-positive. This information devastated him and the hope of being safe against the disease crashed.

From 2000 to 2004 was the toughest time for him because he confined himself to his house for almost three and half years. During this time not a single friend came to visit him but his family was always there to support and encourage him with the passage of time he gained strength and started to accept him in the way he’s. He started training at the gym to be able to gain strength and started being particular with his diet as well. He developed a passion for bodybuilding and ventured into this field.

In 2006, he participated in the Mr.Manipur contest for the first time and won a silver medal in 60kg category. He felt that he got a new lease of life and he was still living. His life was not over yet, it in fact started with a new garb.

After living with HIV for close to two decades, Pradip learnt how to deal with the reality of life. Pradip is now 46 years old, he is an active HIV Positive campaigner and he works as a physical trainer at the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs of the Manipur government and plans to open an academy for bodybuilding but he doesn’t participate in professional competitions anymore.

Despite all the achievements Pradipkumar is still subjected to discrimination and stigma which he often has to cope with on a daily basis. Most of the people do not like to use the bar he touches at the gym. They even hesitate to touch his belongings there. He trains at gym close to his place which is small but he feels at home there.

HIV is a disease just like other disease. Human beings are not disease; disease is a part of humans. We have to stand together to stop this stigma.

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