01 December 2010
By Nozia Sayyed
The Wake Up Pune campaign by the Deep Gruha Society supports HIV–infected people like Mangala and Mangesh, who want to live their lives in a healthy way.
Mangala told DNA, "We want to set an example for others like us, so we will get married on December 1."
Mangala, who was diagnosed as HIV+ in 2002, works as a senior clerk with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and is a graduate. "This is my second marriage. My husband, who died of AIDS, passed the infection to me. I opted to marry again because I don't want to lead a lonely life," she confessed.
"They wait for their acceptance in this society," said Avinash Chakranarayan, team leader of Deep Gruha's HIV programme, Disha. He said this year's theme for World AIDS Day was human rights and an awareness campaign to educate the masses had been organised by the NGO.
A series of events have been organised on the day and one of the most important events is the 'stigma tunnel'. Chakranarayan said it was an interactive session designed for people to experience the life of a stigmatised HIV+ person.
This tunnel consists of four rooms and includes a doctor announcing the positive status of the participant, rejection by the family and community due to HIV infection and finally a dark room that symbolises isolation and stigma, he said.
The day will be marked by a rally starting from Shaniwarwada to BJ Medical College. An HIV–theme talent contest between six nursing colleges will be held at SGS Mall on Thursday.