Indian women often lose social standing and ties when their husbands die. But if widows are HIV-positive the stigma and isolation can be extreme. For the past few years, however, a marriage bureau in Gujarat helps some find new spouses.
SURAT, India (WOMENSENEWS)–Over her husband’s funeral pyre six years ago, Heena Patel, then 21, was informed by her in-laws that he had died of AIDS.
Till then, Heena Patel–whose full name is being used to distinguish her from other Patels in this story–had repeatedly questioned his frequent illnesses and received nothing but silence. After he died she had to face the reality that not only had her husband and his family known about his HIV-positive status when he married her, but that she was infected as well.