Anil Valiv, a government officer in India, has created PositiveSaathi.com, which is a site that helps HIV positive Indians find romantic matches.
To date Valiv has helped create matches that resulted in between 200 and 400 marriages so far. He got the idea after organizing HIV tests for truck drivers, in India’s Latur town, where he heard about a story, from a doctor, about a man getting desperate to find a partner for marriage.
“He told the doctor that if he didn’t find an HIV positive match soon, he would marry a healthy woman without revealing his HIV status,” Valiv said. “The doctor was in a dilemma. That made me realize how difficult it was for such people to find a spouse.”
It was that, coupled with the fact that he had also had a close friend who was HIV positive. He watched for years as the man dealt with the illness and the ramifications of it.
“He was shunned by his own family. I cannot forget the longing in his eyes for a family and children,” Aliv said. “Such is the stigma attached to the infection that when he died in 2006, his father refused to light his pyre at his sparsely attended funeral.”
It was also in 2006 that he started his website, and since then has helped people like Nisha find a spouse. Nisha found out that she had HIV, while she was pregnant, after a blood test. She had contracted the disease from her husband, who then divorced her and kicked her out of their home.
“I wanted to kill my son and myself,” Nisha said. “I wanted to remarry but didn’t know how to find an HIV positive partner.”
After learning about Valiv’s website a few years later, she eventually met her new husband, Kolhapur, who is also HIV positive. “The site came as a ray of hope in my darkest hour,” she said.
[via BBC News]