Have the COURAGE to “live”. Anyone can die

Submitted on Oct 25, 2013 by  JoDha

“Jyoti, I want to marry you, and this time I am sure of it.”

I looked at him, not believing a word. Marry me? An HIV-positive woman? When he couldn’t commit to me for the whole two and half years we were going around??

FLASHBACK: Pune, Aug 4th 2013

My phone vibrates.

1 message pending

I was just getting ready for the HIV Matrimonial Event that was to be held in Pune. I was a Guest Speaker for that event and I had not prepared my speech as yet. Thought that there is still 2-3 hours to go for the ceremony to start, hence I will write at the venue itself. I always keep my phone on the “vibration” mode and its background light was distracting my attention. I switched on to read the message:

“Jyoti, please break your ties with him. I have realized my feelings for you and want to marry you. I don’t want to lose you.”

I choose to give it a royal ignore. This is not the first time. He had said that before also, only to develop  cold feet. He is HIV Negative and in India, sero-discordant couple are discouraged. Normally doctors would advise abstinence and would also suggest not to even kiss. Such is the case of HIV in India. His words clearly ring in my ears - “What will my parents think?” “What will society think?” Also I have to be answerable to some of my people to whom I had told that I won’t ever marry…blah blah blah, hence I didn’t let the text message affect me this time. Before, I used to get emotionally depressed and mentally drained, but now, since I have decided to move on after much waiting, I have also decided to marry a guy of my respective status.

The phone vibrates again. And again. And Again.

3 messages pending...

“Jyoti, this time I swear to God, I will take you home and marry you. You will henceforth be my responsibility”

“Jyoti, please come back to me. I have realized how much you mean to me and how much I love you when you have already left me”

“Jyoti, would you rather be with someone whom you know for two and half years or marry a person you have just met for few hours? Why don’t you give me one last chance and believe in me?”

This time I was getting exasperated and could feel the stress level rising. Why does he have to do like this all the time? Just why, when I am with him, he could not even “feel” me? Why, when he is about to “lose” me does he realize how much I love him?

BACK TO PRESENT: Mumbai, Oct 13th 2013

“Now, under the sacred fire, with blessings of Lord Ram and Sita, and our own worshippable God Jagannath, Balram and Subhadra, I pronounce you husband and wife”

“In sickness and in health, till death do us part”

And I also remember the promise of an everlasting love and support:

  • I pledge to be with you to uplift the stigma and discrimination
  • I pledge to change the mindset and thinking of Indian society through our example
  • I pledge to support you in your cause


Stigma is still there. In his home. Around society. Amongst his friends. But then, if we need to change that, then it is “WE” who has to bring in the change. Thus WE as a living, walking, talking example want to prove everyone that HIV is not scary as it was before. That it is no more an untouchable disease. That it can be controlled. That we can lead a normal life.  My husband Vivek Surve is still abiding by his promise and doing the best he can for the society.


Have the COURAGE to “live”. Anyone can die----Robert Cody

This proverb I lovingly dedicate to my husband who has proved himself by marrying me and facing lot of critics, his family too not withstanding. When going gets tough, the “tough” gets going!!


Hello Mirriam,

I sincerely hope what you say is true that I am not the only discordant couple and because of the fear of what the society will say/do, they choose to remain silent in this issue which is of the grave concern. And when I and my husband speak out and show our face, and come out in support of PLWHA in India, I also sincerely hope that it will embolden them and empower them to come out of their closet as well. The day this will happen, I will be the happiest, knowing that we were not the only one who married and who believed in ourselves more than the virus itself. This will be the only day when our battle will be finally won!!

Submitted by Jyoti Dhawale Surve

congs gal, thats the way to goo ... there are so many who are happily married, you are not the only discordant couple and i bet there are many living in silent because of fear of what the society around them will do or say. they will learn from your family. I am very happy for you, wishing you all the best in the journey of the married. Enjoy every minute that pass by my sister and pay for all the days you missed



Thank you so much for writing in Sai. Do keep reading for more. Alongwith my husband, we will be doing a lot to the society, to bring more and more out in the open, and my husband is the "role-model" for me in this game of life.

Submitted by Jyoti Dhawale Surve

Beautiful! Live well, love well! You give us all hope.

Submitted by bee2art

Congratulations on your marriage Jyoti! I am proud of you and your husband. I have read all of your posts and could relate quite well to them. You give me hope for a loving supportive relationship.


Thank you bee2art and I hope that day will come when looking back we could laugh on it.....knowing that we had fought very very hard to make world a better place for future generations

Submitted by joyaloyo

congs my dear. i can feel what your saying. the father of my son is doing the same after he refused to commit and went ahead to marry someone else. i have told him the same and i know i will live long to find true love.


I am so sorry to hear that Joy. Know that you are too precious and you will definately find someone better who will love you more than yourself. Am happy to read that you believe in yourself and waiting too. This is where your positive strength lie.

Submitted by Jyoti Dhawale Surve

Every one should change ming set and see from science perspective .We should not driven by scary thoughts.I am glad to know about him and trust that we live as normal like others.Any educated person can encourage the discordent relationship and wish god bless you dear .Jyothi is full of true love and emottions and passion to serve the society.You empowerd to change the society attitude -Best wishes

Submitted by Jyoti Dhawale Surve

I know Vivek for nearly 2 decades. You will have a great life together, and you both are welcome in our house whenever you want to!


Thank you so much, Andy :D :D You are a wonderful person and a dinner at your place was awesomer. Your wife's cooking is awesome!!

Submitted by Jyoti Dhawale Surve

WOW! What an encouragement!


Waoh!This is a great one,Jyoti,tears of Joy dripping down my chick,and I bet u will enjoy this union without fear of anything,God keep and bless u,dear.

Submitted by Jyoti Dhawale Surve

Hi Jyoti,

You are a true inspiration for me.

Submitted by Angel S.

Today after over four years together I can not tell anyone in his family. When I am away for a support group, or speaking at a nice function we call it volunteering for a cause.

If he accepts me why cant his family find out? I have so many people in my life the ones that know , the ones who pretend they have all the facts, the ones I spare from knowing, my church, my recovery family. Doing this makes my life more difficult. Sneaking around. Picking venues in which certain gruops wont see me. It is very exhausting.

I have been in and out of substance abuse just over this. At eight years clean  and sober I rebounded back to that destruction over the lies.

I love your story it brings me hope. Keep sharing and encouraging others to do the same. Without the community of woman to help me through; I would be dead or a junkie at this very moment.

Today I answer questions honestly. My motto if you really dont want to know "Dont Ask"!

Thank you again


JoDha 's recent blog posts


Members of The Well Project community at USCHA 2022.

Become a Member

Join our community and become a member to find support and connect to other women living with HIV.

Join now >


Do you get our newsletter?

¿Recibe nuestro boletín?

Sign up for our monthly Newsletter and get the latest info in your inbox.

Suscríbase a nuestro boletín mensual y reciba la información más reciente en su bandeja de entrada.

Browse Blogs by Theme

Recent Blog Posts

Our Bloggers