Panaji: Desmond Fernandes and Catherine are no different from a regular couple living in Quepem, a town known for mining activity, almost 60 kms south of Panaji.Parents to a three-year-old girl, Alina, they know their life is short as both husband and wife are HIV positive and had got the infection from different partners.Desmond (43) and Catherine (38) have been married since last four years but their struggle with AIDS has been on for last one and a half decade. However, their child is negative.Desmond, who runs a bar and restaurant in Quepem, is living with HIV since last 15 years and when he thought of getting hitched some time ago, it was a bit difficult."I was feeling lonely and needed a companion. Family was also pressuring me to get married. I sought a help of local NGO for a prospective partner," he recalls talking about his past.That’s when Catherine came into picture. She was infected with HIV from her earlier marriage and was too living with it since last 15 years.After remarrying Desmond, she conceived a child. Thankfully, their child was saved from the stigma."But there are abundant worries. We have a short life. We have to think about future of our child," said Catherine, who helps the family financially with vegetable cultivation and also by preparing paper bags.
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