My name is Jyoti Dhawale. In Hindi, "Jyoti" means "Light". As in "The Ray of Light". I was diagnosed with HIV in 2005 due to medical negligence and into HIV Activism since 2011. 1976 born, Indian, residing in Nagpur. Love life, friendly, free-spirited. Proactive in adventure outings and cycling to keep body endurance level and stamina toned.

Dancing/Music: my passion, Travelling: A great stress-buster, Reading: An indulgence, Movies: A fascination. Strongly believes in Karma. A complete foodie. Role model: Mother Teresa (who taught how to love unconditionally) and Princess Diana (who taught how to give selflessly).

I was married in 2004, got pregnant in 2006 where I learnt I was HIV positive, carried baby to full term and gave birth to hale, hearty healthy son (negative) thru C-Section. In 2007, my marriage started crumbling and a divorce happened in 2008. I don't know if the failure of my marriage is due to my being HIV-positive or due to fear (my ex-husband is negative), or maybe because I was not fit enough in either of my responsibilities as a mother and a wife. I re-married again on 2013 but that marriage went sour by 2017 because of his narcissist tendencies. But that was my past. Now my present lies in helping eradicating the ignorance, educating the mass, showing myself as an example which is the biggest challenge I face, especially in a country that is conservative and orthodox…But then CHANGES begin in you and it starts with YOU. Hence, I call myself as HIV Changemaker more than an activist. Upon my death, my epitaph should read "Here lie a woman who lived life in such a way that she didn't die in vain"!

I love life and even if the toughest of situations break me down, it won't DEFEAT me and my will to live. I was born a rebellious fighter and love being in company of people, learning a lot from their stories.

Why Jyoti wants to be part of A Girl Like Me: Here, in India, HIV/AIDS is a curse and those who are living with it are treated as “untouchables”. I want to reach out, through the powers of media, to even the remotest place, and extend my hands to those crying for love, care and acceptance. In a conservative country like ours, I want to expose myself to show that HIV is not related only to the poor, the downtrodden, prostitute or drug/sex addicts. Even your well-do-to neighbour could be one! We need to reach out, speak up and be heard! 

Check out The Well Project's Spotlight on Jyoti.