India's Isolated HIV Victims Find Solace in Marriage
June 22, 2009
Many of India's some 2.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS are ostracized by their communities, prompting some to establish marriage agencies. The Gujarat Marriage Bureau for People Living with AIDS was the first of its kind when it started in 2005; eight similar agencies now exist across India.
According to Radhika Samant, a Mumbai-based AIDS doctor, marriage between HIV-infected persons can help prevent the virus' spread. Marriage provides people with the disease not just companionship, but also can offer them practical benefits such as mutual medication monitoring and cost-sharing of treatment.
The pressure to marry in India is very strong, and HIV-positive people may succumb to their parents' wishes even though they are aware of the risks to their future spouse and children. "The government should be promoting this," Samant said of HIV marriage registries.
Agence France Presse
06.15.2009; Rupam Jain Nair