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Now, a Marriage Portal Exclusively For People Living With HIV

People living with HIV can now register themselves with the website and volunteers of the Gujarat State Network of Positive People will then facilitate a connection between people who are interested in a matrimonial alliance.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:August 21, 2018, 5:01 PM IST
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Now, a Marriage Portal Exclusively For People Living With HIV
Representative Image. (Reuters)

Ahmedabad: A marriage portal exclusively for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) was launched in Ahmedabad on Tuesday afternoon to serve as a platform where people living with the disease could find life partners.

A joint effort by the Gujarat State Network of Positive People, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and Sri Rama Krishna Exports, the portal matrimonial.gsnpplus.org was launched at the IIM-A campus.

People living with HIV can now register themselves with the website and volunteers of the Gujarat State Network of Positive People will then facilitate a connection between people who are interested in a matrimonial alliance.

“This effort can succeed only when complete confidentiality can be maintained. The administrators of the website will ensure that profiles and information of those interested in matrimony are not made public. This venture involves technology, but it has a major human interface as well. GSNP+ has a track record of several years of facilitating matches of HIV positive people and they will use the portal to further promote their activities,” said Prof Rajesh Chandwani, Chairperson of the Centre for Management of Health Services (CHMS), IIM-A.

Professor Errol D’ Souza, director of IIM-A, said that the idea of having a matrimonial website exclusively for persons with HIV or AIDS is a path breaking step and added that IIM-A partnering in this cause is even more special.

“The CMHS centre at IIM-A has been functional since the 1980s, but more recently several new dimensions of work have been added. Most of the HIV numbers in India are hidden and we do not know the official figure of cases. Clearly, the official number being cited is wrong and it is high time that research and medical practice work together to provide the best possible environment for persons with HIV in the country,” he stated.

Govind Dholakia of Sri Rama Krishna Exports, a leading diamond trading firm from Surat said that he finds himself fortunate to be associated with the project. “We have been working on a smaller scale with groups that are engaged in the welfare of HIV positive people. Now that an institution like IIM-A is also involved, I am sure this new venture will help HIV positive people find their partners more easily,” he said. SRK Foundation, the CSR wing of the diamond firm, is financing the venture.

Daksha Patel, Founder of the Gujarat State Network of Positive People (GSNP+), said that she has seen and experienced problems faced by people who have tested HIV positive from close quarters.

“I myself tested positive for HIV in 1997 and had to abort my baby then. But we did not lose hope. We have worked tirelessly since and formed a marriage bureau for people with AIDS. Since 2005, we have got 245 HIV positive couples married. Since then, there’s been a huge change in the lives of hundreds of HIV positive couples. There are several instances where the children of HIV positive parents are HIV negative,” she said.

As many as 2.3 million persons (23 lakh) are registered with the government as being HIV positive across the country. In Gujarat alone, as many as 68,000 persons have been registered at Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres in the state. But this number is grossly understated and the actual figure of persons with HIV could be much higher.

Dr Keyur Shah, a specialist in HIV care from Vadodara, told News18, “This 2.3 million number represents those who have registered themselves at ART centres across the country and regularly take medication from these centres. I have around 10,000 patients, none of whom are registered with any ART centre. It can be anyone’s guess as to the exact number of HIV positive patients across the country.”

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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