Indo-Asian News Service / Guwahati, January 09, 2010
Junali Devi, a widow living in Assam, is eagerly awaiting the launch of India's first matrimonial website for HIV-positive people.
Guwahati's 35-year-old Junali (name changed on request), who lost her husband three years ago to HIV/AIDS, is among thousands of HIV-positive people in northeast India and elsewhere excited by the prospects of finding a good match through the website.
"I am pinning all my hopes to find a genuine match on the proposed website. I want to live a life with dignity and want someone who is intelligent, sober, and caring," Junali said.
The website (www.hitchiv.com) to be launched later this month at the behest of the Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+) has already generated a lot of interest among HIV- positive people.
"We have already got about 150 to 200 requests for membership despite the fact that the website is yet to be launched," Jahnabi Goswami, president of INP+, said.
Goswami, 32, is one of the few women in India fighting to raise awareness about the disease. She belongs to an even smaller group of people who have publicly declared that they are HIV- positive.
Membership to the website would be open only to people living with HIV/AIDS.
"Strict privacy would be maintained and only registered members will be able to log in and scan profiles of prospective partners," Goswami said.
There are thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS interested in marriage and leading a normal life with dignity, but since they cannot get in touch with like-minded people, their dreams remained unfulfilled.
"It is an excellent idea to have this website as marriages between an HIV- positive couple would enable them not only to lead a happy life but also to take care of and support each other, which is very important," S.I. Ahmed, head of the AIDS Prevention Society, a community healthcare group in Assam, said.
INP+ would arrange pre-marital counselling to prospective couples interested in having children post-marriage.
"When it comes to marriage the couple would surely be told about the pros and cons," Ahmed added.