500 HIV Patients Keen To Get Married In UP


(MENAFN- IANS) Lucknow, Dec 1 (IANS) In a welcome move, at least 500 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Uttar Pradesh, have shown an interest in getting married and have even begun the initial paperwork required for it.

D Himanshu, in-charge of the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Centre at the King George's Medical University (KGMU), where the names of applicants desirous of marriage are noted, said, "Marriage among HIV positive people is not a very frequent event. Yet, we have got 65 marriages solemnised among otherwise healthy HIV positive patients."

Vimlesh Kumar, state coordinator, Uttar Pradesh Welfare for People Living with HIV/AIDS Society (UPNPplus), the advocacy group working in the state, explained, "It goes stepwise. We circulate the biodata that is picked up by interested men or women. The family meets and then the discussion on age, height, income, education and such takes place. If everything goes well, the marriage is fixed."

Before forwarding the biodata, the viral load and CD4 count test (used to check the health of the immune system if one is infected with HIV) of the candidate is called for by the UPNPplus to ascertain the health of the bride/groom-to-be.

"Between April and October this year, 24 marriages were solemnised among PLHIV across Uttar Pradesh," said Kumar.

Once the marriage date is fixed, the couple-to-be is put through counselling for family planning and good behaviour in family life.

"Nothing remains hidden between the two persons getting married. This transparency helps improve the quality of life after marriage," said Kumar.

At present, the state has 1,12,204 PLHIV on ART while the estimated number of people living with HIV is 1.94 lakh. This year, since April, 5,873 male, 3,142 female, 47 transgender, 264 male children and 187 female children have been registered for HIV care.

Doctors said that marriage among PLHIV has twin benefits. First, the chance of spreading infection is reduced, secondly, even PLHIV can lead a normal family life.

According to doctors, with guidance and medical support, a newborn from HIV-positive parents can remain HIV negative.

"Tests are conducted at birth and medicine is given, to keep the newborn HIV negative," said Suman Shukla, of King George's Medical University Antiretroviral Therapy centre.

--IANS

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