HIV + ‘caste-virus’ + ‘gender virus’ = Infinite Sufferings


Bharati Sonawane, 30, wants to marry again and start a family. She is waiting for Mr Positive who will be with her till the end. Sonawane is HIV positive.Like her, there are at least 20 women and 70 men who are enrolled in a marriage bureau to find a life partner living with the killer virus. Run by people affected by the virus, the Network in Thane by People Living with HIV & Aids (NTP+) operates Jeevansaathi (life partner) marriage bureau that helps its members live a happy married life without any prejudice.

Set up in 2004 in Thane district, Maharashtra, India, NTP+ has blossomed into a non-profit making organisation that functions on contributions made by donors including its members.Though the success rate of HIV-positive women seeking alliances with HIV-positive men is high, the caste system and age-old customs have prevented many men from finding their life partners.

“The success rate among women is high because they are willing to compromise on caste, while the men prefer an alliance from their own community which becomes difficult due to the percentage ratio,” says Sonawane, who is also the vice president of NTP+.Deepak Panzade, NTP+ Programme Manager says, “What HIV-positive people need is self-confidence, motivation and a turnaround in life.

Pic01:Despite many odds, confident Bharati

People who approach us for counselling are those who have problems with social acceptance. And we at NTP+ have a training programme called PSA [Positive Speakers Academy] where members are taught lessons in interaction and public speaking.”Panzade says the PSA initiative is supported by Unicef and so far the group has conducted 40 sessions and trained 40 HIV-positive speakers, of whom 60 per cent are women.

Ashok Dhokle, NTP+ secretary who is HIV positive, says the group’s 789 members receive medicines at a discounted rate. “We are also in constant touch with local NGOs, government and private hospitals for supply of medicines,” he says.”Apart from medicines we also guide our members on eating habits and other aspects of community living. Our aim is to improve their quality of life and help them adjust in society,” adds Dhokle.The group’s thrust now is on setting up a website to help such people. Sonawane adds, “We work and live like a family at NTP+ and our motto is ‘Till Death Do Us Part’.” HIV Care Centre

NTP+ is affiliated to the Network in Maharashtra by People Living with HIV/Aids (NMP+) and in turn to the Indian Network for People Living with HIV/Aids (INP+). The head office is in Chennai, India Membership fee for NTP+ is Rs65 (Dh6) per annum or Rs5 (45fils) per month For more info, contact:

Source: IndianExpress

2 Responses to “HIV + ‘caste-virus’ + ‘gender virus’ = Infinite Sufferings”

  1. 1 shoki.s g.

    i am interested to join this org. i am hiv+ but i live a very healthy life with regular check-ups & medicines. i am interested in gettng marry 2 a hiv+ girl of any caste &religion. i am 35,leaving with my parents,&i am self-employed. i stay in mumbai.

  2. 2 Gurudewle

    Hi, I want 2 join this organisation.I m hiv+ healthy,alone,selfemployed staying in mumbai.I want to marry hiv+women,m 44yrs age

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