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Reuters UK Examines HIV/AIDS Group's "Matchmaking" Efforts for HIV-Positive People in India

October 3, 2006

Reuters UK on Monday examined efforts by an HIV/AIDS advocacy group in India to help find partners for HIV-positive men and women who often are shunned by their families and communities. Thirty men and women living with the virus on Sunday in Surat, India, met at a session called "HIV+ Find a Life Partner," which was hosted by the local HIV/AIDS advocacy group Network of Surat People Living with HIV+, Reuters UK reports. During the two-hour "matchmaking" event, the men and women "shared their experiences, discussed their families, medical histories and professions, with some even introducing their prospective partners to accompanying relatives, before agreeing [to] marry," according to Reuters UK. Daksha Patel, an event organizer, said the goal was to help as many HIV-positive people as possible find compatible partners. "Let them find, choose and decide on a partner. It will add a new spark to the lonely lives and give them a new zest to start all over again," Patel said. Patel, who also is HIV-positive, said many of the women who participated in Sunday's event were widows or divorcees who contracted HIV from their husbands and were disowned by their relatives. According to Reuters UK, many HIV-positive people "face acute stigma" because of misconceptions and lack of education about the disease. HIV-positive people and HIV/AIDS advocates have been pushing for a law to prevent discrimination against people living with the virus but have said the Indian government is intentionally delaying action on the legislation (Jain Nair, Reuters UK, 10/2).

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