Matrimonial meet for people living with HIV

PUNE: Following the success of the initiative last year, city-based NGOs, Wake Up Pune, Santulan and Deep Griha’s DISHA project, will host Melava+, a matrimonial event for the people living with HIV on August 7. With participants registering from far off places, including Delhi, the event promises to be much bigger than last year.

Though people living with HIV can live a full and healthy life with the help of ART medications, they often have trouble finding partners. As Wake Up Pune coordinator Kassie Dantzler explained, “not many resources are available to help people with HIV find a spouse. At times, even finding friends or community can be difficult. Wake Up Pune hopes to facilitate new and meaningful relationships for such people.”

Based in a belief that all people have the right to get married if they choose to and that people living with HIV need to be supported rather than stigmatised, Meleva+ provides a platform for such people to find a life partner, community, love and happiness.

Tackling HIV related stigma and discrimination by supporting the universal right to marriage and happiness, the event provides an opportunity for PLHIV to meet people they can relate to and to build lasting relationships built on mutual care and support. New friendships and relationships will help them become mainstreamed in society and even start thinking about starting a family.

The last year’s event had 150 candidates and their families from Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. Twelve couples got engaged at the event. Several of these couples are now expecting babies. One of participants in the last year’s event said, “I was ostracised by society. I just could not think of marriage. However, thanks to this meeting, I found my life partner.

The event will be held from 9 am to 5 pm on August 7 at Maulana Abdul Kalam memorial hall in Koregaon Park. Woman participants can be accompanied by two relatives while male participants may bring only one. Travel costs of woman participants will be sponsored as long as proof of travel (for example, a bus or train ticket) is provided. Registrations will be accepted till August 2. For details, or to register, write to or contact Dwijen Smart on 9665827180 or 9404963335.

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