The website has helped 450 HIV-positive users find their matches so far, winning them the Manthan award
Seven years ago, Deputy Regional Transport Officer Anil Valiv had launched a unique website — a matrimonial portal for HIV-positive people. After helping 450 users to find their partners, the website, www.positivesaathi.com recently bagged the Manthan award for its contribution.
Set up seven years ago, the website helps HIV-positive users find partners without having to compromise on their privacy
There is still considerable stigma surrounding HIV, or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the agent for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This often makes it hard for those diagnosed with the virus to find matrimonial matches.
Valiv had seen the same issue affect one of his closest friends when they had been younger. “During my college days, one of my best friends was diagnosed as HIV-positive. He lost interest in life when he saw his friends moving ahead in life, finding their partners and getting married. It caused him to sink into depression and end his life,” Valiv said.
“I was so moved by my friend’s death, I swore an oath to prevent this from happening to anyone else. So about seven years ago, I started the website to help other HIV-positive people,” he added.
The website maintains the users’ privacy, allowing them to overcome the stigma and their fear of rejection while connecting with potential partners.
While the website has already helped hundreds get hitched, there are currently 4,500 active users who are looking for spouses on the portal, a feat that has been recognised by the Manthan award, a South Asian event created to recognise development initiatives that use information and communication technology.
The website won the award in the E-NGO category, competing against 13 other nominations that included social projects from the District Collector’s office, as well as several NGOs.
The award has boosted Valiv’s conviction and faith in his project. “I want to bring happiness in the lives of those who feel dejected because of the HIV diagnosis. They should also be able to believe that can live a happy married life with same zeal as anybody else,” he said.
Valiv also organises matrimonial events and weddings for the HIV-positive ever year on World AIDS Day. He invites them to the events, providing an allowance for their food, accommodation and travel needs as well.
“I also call people who are married to HIV-positive partners, so that they can share their experiences and success stories with others,” said Valiv.