Kousalya Periasamy (Class of 2007)
Kousalya is a pioneer in working towards the rights of HIV positive women in India. She was the first Indian woman to declare herself as HIV positive. She founded Positive Women’s Network in Chennai, Tamil Nadu to focus on improving the quality of lives of women and children living with HIV/AIDS. She is working towards ending the stigma attached with HIV and on treatment and rehabilitation on HIV positive women and children.
The Positive Women Network spreads awareness to improve information on HIV and Aids. It also works to improve access to anyone associated with the network with services like counseling, treatment, general health checkups, and drug rehabilitation. The Network is pushing for affirmative action for infected women in the forms of employment, vocational training, and credit.
In 2015 on International Women’s Day, Kousalya received the Nari Shakti Puraskar. She was one the first eight women recipients of the award for her leadership and achievements.