Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This report describes an initiative that was undertaken to document the experiences of HIV-positive ever-married women in Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu, India. The initiative sought to explore the circumstances in which women learned about their HIV status; their feelings on finding out they were HIV-positive; the nature of husband–wife relationships prior to and following disclosure of women’s HIV status; the extent of support or discrimination that women experienced from family members, friends, and neighbors; treatment-seeking behaviors; and women’s perspectives about ways in which the multiple needs of HIV-infected women can be met. Drawing on the testimonies of these women gathered by trained investigators who were themselves HIV-positive, the report attempts to bring faces and voices to the reality of the HIV epidemic, particularly among married women. Findings show that women living with HIV face multiple vulnerabilities, ranging from physical and mental ill-health to concerns about financial security, family and peer support, and securing the future of their children. The findings call, correspondingly, for multiple efforts that address HIV-positive women’s health and well-being as well as empower them to lead their lives with confidence and dignity.






Health and Population Innovation (HPI) Fellowship Program