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Happily Ever After

Times of India
02 December 2010
Pune, India

Inputs by Jyonita Deshmukh and K. Mamta Mural
As the famous quote goes, "And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years." On 1st December, widely regarded as World AIDS Day, Mangesh Chaudary, 36, and Meena Shinde, 34, (names changed to protect privacy) both HIV positive, were married in the presence of friends and family, in the district court of Pune.

The couple clasp hands while Meena’s son looks on The couple clasp hands while Meena’s son looks on
Deep Griha Society and vivah.aarogya.com – a special online matrimonial bureau for people suffering from, HIV and other disabilities, joined hands for this event.

Dwinjen Smart and Avinash Chakranayan were witnesses on this joyous occasion. Dwinjen Smart, works with aarogya.com, through which the couple met. According to him, eight people living with HIV have married through this organisation so far.

"This was a special marriage for us, because an HIV positive man would usually never marry an HIV positive women who has a kid. They mostly prefer singles. "

Avinash Chakranayan, a team leader for Deep Griha’s HIV programme (DISHA) said, "People react to HIV/AIDS with ignorance and fear, leading to discrimination, and to the spread of the virus, since people are not encouraged to protect themselves."

Though this was a ordinary court marriage, the story behind it was extraordinary. "I met Mangesh on the 1st of August, through vivah.aarogya.com, a matrimonial site for people suffering from HIV" said Meena Shinde. Meena, who has a son who is about seven years old, and is HIV negative works with the TB-DOTS program.

This marriage exemplifies how people living with HIV can get back to the social cycle of work and family, which ultimately leads to happiness.

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