February 1st, 2015
I was on third month of pregnancy when I was diagnosed HIV positive. My whole world came crashing down when I looked into the report that unforgivingly read, “POSITIVE in HIV”.
For a moment I was convinced it was a mistake. I looked at my husband, deep into his eyes. I was petrified with eerie apprehensions, until the second report came in – my husband was HIV negative.
Suddenly I was at a complete loss. How was it possible that I was HIV positive while my husband was not? My mind started racing, and it was then when it hit me.
We got married in January 2004 and within a few months of my marriage I was pregnant. My ecstasy at the thought of being a mother was cut short when my husband said he wanted me to abort – he was not ready to start a family. After the following argument which he won, I aborted the baby with a deep pain in my heart. This was not my only abortion. Between 2004 and 2006 I had three abortions in three different hospitals in the span of two years. It was during my fourth attempt of abortion in 2006 that I was handed over the report that stated I was HIV positive.
I realized I had been infected from one of the three hospitals, and I didn’t know which one of them was responsible. Besides, I had destroyed all the previous abortion reports and files, so there was no way I could begin legal proceedings against any of them.
The final blow struck me when my husband approached me for a divorce. The same person who swore to support me throughout my life now adopted every means possible to have me sign a piece of paper. I was unsure what changed him, my being positive or some other, abrupt change of heart. After several events of violence, begging and pleading, a divorce paper finally parted the two of us.
My son was born (negative) on March 2006. After divorce, he went to my ex-husband’s custody. Now I am fighting for my rights, right to see my child and my right to the divorce alimony.
Following my divorce, I worked as an IT Professional, standing on my own two feet, braving the world, its hardships and men, until I got married to my HIV-negative partner in 2013. My ex-husband had remarried much earlier, which I now believe was the primary reason for divorce. He is hardly in touch with me now.
Deep inside me, the hurt, the pain, the traumas are still there, but outside I have learned to smile, to laugh, to live again. I may be broken, but never defeated. In my case, I contracted HIV through medical negligence. Thus, do not judge anyone until you hear their story. No one is bad and everyone deserves a second chance. We don’t need pity or sympathy – a bit of care and compassion goes a long way into making the world a better place for people to live in – irrespective of any kind of illness, gender, caste or system.?
– Jyoti Dhawale known mononymously as Jo is HIV Activist, dedicated for the betterment of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) across India and the world.
[Correction : There was some initial mistake in the write-up, which created a lot of confusion, we request you to go through the corrected write-up ]