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A man who shed off his HIV tag, became a bodybuilder champion

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Nov 21, 2022 1:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

From fighting psychological trauma, stigma and discrimination of being HIV-positive to becoming an international bodybuilding champion, Khundrakpam Pradipkumar Singh has come a long way.

His incredible journey is the subject of Jayanta Kalita's new book, "I am HIV Positive, So What?: A World Champion's Fight Against Drugs, Disease, and Discrimination," published by Bloomsbury India.

Until December 15, 2007, Singh was nobody. The very next day he was known across his state as 'Mr Manipur'. And soon after he lifted the title, Singh came out in the open with his HIV-positive status.

"Having discovered that he was HIV positive was a body blow for Singh. The period from March 2000 to 2002 proved to be the darkest phase of his life," the book says.

It was almost like a living death for Singh. But he was determined to break the stereotype of being branded as an AIDS victim.

Singh saw it as a challenge to prove everyone wrong, and he seriously considered resuming his workouts near the end of 2003.

Fortunately, his health was improving and he gained some weight. He then started going to the gym to lift weights.

However, his doctor advised him not to engage in heavy exercise or weight training. But Singh decided to go ahead.

Achievements of Singh

And finally his D-day arrived. He took part in the 'Mr Manipur' competition on November 26, 2006 and bagged the silver medal in the senior 60 kg category.

There was no turning back after that. The following year, he was crowned champion and competed in Mr India contests. He won the silver medal at the 50th Mr India contest in Goa in 2010, and was crowned 'Mr South Asia' two years later.

In 2012, he took bronze in the 'Mr World' competition in Bangkok. He hasn't participated in any major events since then.

Singh, 45, is now employed as a physical trainer at the department of sports and youth affairs of the Manipur government. He was made brand ambassador for HIV/AIDS by the Manipur State AIDS Control Society and was roped in by the India chapter of a global non-profit to lead a pan-India HIV awareness campaign from Delhi.

Singh also took up the cudgels to sensitise people to the ill-effects of drug abuse, to which Manipur is the biggest victim in northeast India.

Also Read: Research: मिला HIV का मिला इलाज, वैक्सीन की एक डोज से खत्म होगी बीमारी!

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