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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
INDIA: HIV Marriage Agency Struggles to Find Women

April 17, 2006
Agence France Presse (04.17.06) - Monday, April 17, 2006

An Indian organization designed to bring HIV-positive couples together for marriage said today that while plenty of men are seeking its services, very few women do, possibly due to social stigma. Nearly 170 men have registered with the Swastik Marriage Bureau, compared to just three women since the group formed less than a year ago. The three women were all widows infected by their dead husbands, said Rajesh Purohit, who founded SMB to prevent such infections by removing the secrecy surrounding HIV infection. "I don't want anyone hiding their disease," he said. "This way, it could make the man's life easier and wouldn't spoil anyone else's." Most of SMB's clients are middle-class office workers, Purohit said. The men usually contacted the agency by themselves, while the families of female clients usually contacted SMB, he said.