Palakkad (Kerala):A couple who were HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) positive took a vow of living together till their last breath in Palakkad district of Kerala recently.
The couple deliberated a lot before taking this decision and decided not to produce any child as a precaution against AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). Both are happy to have made a new beginning in their life.
The marriage received full support from family, friends and fellow villagers. With an air of solemnity, Asokan (29) and Ajitha (26) took their marriage vows amidst the beating of drums and chanting of traditional Vedic incantations.
While Asokan, the groom, contracted HIV during a surgery on his leg that required blood transfusion, Ajitha, the bride, contacted from her earlier husband, who later on died.
"It was nearly two years back that I got to know I was HIV positive. I believe I will possibly be able to live with this for another ten years. I got to know that there was another person (Ajitha) who suffered with the same problem like me. I found out more about her and we then decided to tie the knot," says Asokan.
The wedding was organized by a charitable trust that has been also working with AIDS and HIV positive patients recently. "They have got married to remove any confusion and misconceptions that is held in society about AIDS. They have also decided not to have any children. Their whole family and the entire village is with them and more than 1,500 people attended the wedding," says Sunil Das, chairman of the Muthalamada Sneham Charitable Trust.
Though none of their family members are infected with the virus, both their families have been their constant source of support. The couple says they will work with other AIDS patients and spend the rest of their lives while spreading awareness about the dreaded disease.
India says it has 5.13 million people living with HIV/AIDS, the second largest number after South Africa, but voluntary agencies and UNAIDS, the U.N.'s anti-AIDS agency, say these figures are far low than the reality as many cases go unreported.
Drugs can cost around 1,300 rupees a month (or 28 dollars) -- less than a meal for two at a medium-priced restaurant in New York or London -- but still out of reach for many Indians.