HIV+ matrimony mela: Two couples decide to marry, but BMC loses track of them

The Mumbai District AIDS Control Society and NGO Positive Saathi failed to maintain records of the two couples who had decided to get married and will have to call all participants in the mela individually to make contact now

The first of its kind HIV+ matrimonial mela organised by the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) on Saturday was marred by mismanagement.

Representation pic/Thinkstock
Representation pic/Thinkstock

Both the organising agencies, Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDAC) and their associate NGO (Positive Saathi), failed to maintain records of two couples who decided to get married and will have to call all participants individually to make contact now.

On September 4, mid-day was the first to report on the matrimonial event (‘BMC to hold matrimony mela for HIV+ individuals’). The BMC, along with MDAC and NGO, Positive Saathi, had organised a vadhu-var melava (matrimonial mela) for HIV+ individuals on Saturday.

The objective was to give these individuals a platform to look for a life partner and help them lead a normal life. Until Friday, 60 men and 35 women had registered themselves for the initiative. The numbers almost doubled on Saturday as a lot of people walked in for the occasion.

Around 139 men and 63 women participated in the mela. They were divided into five groups and participated in several interactive activities to break the ice. They got to know each other through these activities. Towards the end of the ceremony, at least two couples had decided to tie the knot.

One of the couples is from the Konkan region. “The two couples informed us that they want to get married. Besides, there were 3-4 others who are hopeful. Their parents are now in talks,” said Anil Valiv, founder of Positive Saathi. Valiv said the response was overwhelming and wants to do more such melas with the BMC.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer of BMC said that with ART (antiretroviral therapy) treatment, every HIV+ individual can live a normal life. They just have to take the necessary precautions to prevent transmission.

But when mid-day asked Valiv for contact details of the two couples, he expressed his inability to locate them. “We got them to fill forms for us wherein all contact details are mentioned. As for the couples, there was a misunderstanding between MDAC and our NGO since we both relied on each other for the same. But the mistake will be corrected because we call all the participants for follow-ups.

During that procedure, we will be able to locate the ones who are getting married.” Valiv said it would take at least 3-4 days to locate the couples. MDAC officer and BMC executive health officer Keskar was unavailable for comment.

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