HIV Can Come Home?
2.3 million people in India are HIV positive. Out of these 39% are women, 3.5% are children. Most of these women have this infection from their husband. HIV does not only affect people so called “high risk” groups. It has spread to households – to wives and children.
So, what can you do?
1. Learn about HIV, don’t think that this disease only affects others
2. Try to start discussions at home about HIV with your spouse. Make a beginning.
3. Try to assess whether you spouse may be engaging in risky behaviour.
4. Learn how to have “critical conversations” at home on topics such as HIV and Sexually transmitted diseases with your spouse.
5. Call Samvad HIV Helpline for more about this.
6. If your spouse is infected – Please follow this link – If Positive What Next?
Premarital HIV Testing
Trust is the foundation of a happy marriage. HIV has tremendous implications for youth and their families. The only way to find one’s status is through testing. Voluntary HIV testing by prospective bride and groom can prevent marital discord, agony and destitution of the family. The benefits are huge. However, given social norms in India around marriage, this can be difficult. Here are some ideas on how to bridge this gap.
1. Ideally, a discussion between both partners and voluntary HIV testing would be the best. It is recommended that both partners go together to an independent testing service provider and jointly receive the results. This can ensure that the results are credible and remain between the partners.
2. Parents can discuss this idea in a mature and cordial manner, understanding that this is in the interest of both the people involved and their families. If the matter seems too sensitive to raise, a significant relation from one side may broach it to the other. This can reduce the chance of discord.
3. In some cases, one family may test their ward on their own, and provide the report to the other family. This has its pros and cons. While some testing is better than no testing, one must beware of fraudulent reports.
4. Both the partners and families may jointly call Samvad HIV Helpline to seek guidance and counseling in this matter.
In case any result is HIV positive and the partners decide mutually to not go ahead with the marriage, they should plan on how to communicate to others. A reason for breaking off the marriage may be thought of such that the message to the extended families is consistent and does not lead to stigmatization of any person.