Jyoti Dhawale

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Jyoti Dhawale
Born (1976-07-24) 24 July 1976 (age 41)
Namkum, Ranchi, Jharkhand
Residence Mumbai
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute, New Delhi
Holy Innocents High, Wellington, Coimbatore
Kendriya Vidhyalaya Agra, Secunderabad
Saint George's Convent Agra,
The Air Force School Bagdogra,
Sherwood Public School Hyderabad
Occupation Community advisor, motivational speaker, writer/blogger
Years active 2005 present
Height 170cm (5 ft 6 in)

Jyoti Dhawale (born 24 July 1976) known mononymously as Jo is HIV Activist, dedicated for the betterment of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) across India and the world.

Early life[edit]

Jyoti was born in 1976 at Namkum Military Hospital – Ranchi, Jharkhand. Her father Late Retired Group Captain J. N. Dhawale was an officer in the Indian Air Force and her Christian mother a homemaker. Dhawale grew up and was schooled in various parts of India. She finished her secondary schooling from National Institute of Open Schooling, New Delhi.

Childhood tragedy[edit]

It was said that she suffered from hearing loss at the age of 3 years due to a freak vehicular accident that took place in Pahalgam. Dhawale strongly relies on lip-reading to follow the conversations and instead of phone calls, uses text messaging or video calls.

Medical negligence[edit]

Dhawale was detected HIV Positive in 2005 due to medical negligence when she was admitted to hospital to undergo a forced abortion by her ex-husband three times. On her fourth forced attempt, she was tested positive, and decided to go ahead with her pregnancy. On 31 March 2006, a healthy HIV negative baby boy was born to them via Cesarean section.


Humanitarian work[edit]

Dhawale is a staunch supporter of the rights and equality of PLWHA, LGBT community and supports LGBT movement in India. She has been involved in various activities concerning human rights, human trafficking, sex workers and women and child health, since 2007. Through the medium of the internet and personal meetings, she has counselled and guided many HIV (infected/affected) and suicide related cases. She has supported Bapuji Center for AIDS Research & Education, (B'CARE) since 2012 as a Regional Co-Ordinator for its Hyderabad-Mumbai AIDS Ride 2014.[1] She is also a motivational speaker at Deep Griha Society based in Pune.


Dhawale uses Facebook as a medium to promote awareness and education of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and is connected with other international activists as well as PLWHA survivors. A photography workshop and short documentary film showcased by Through Positive Eyes in collaboration with Heroes Project held in Mumbai in December 2012 featured her and 13 other HIV positive people propelled her to recognition. She grew her wings under the guidance of Roy Wadia, brother of Riyad Vinci Wadia who worked for World Health Organization.

Featured in publications[edit]

An interview with Dhawale was published in the Times of India stating an example of successful and satisfied life of a mixed-status couple.[1] She regularly inspires, motivates and encourages people living with HIV to live a healthy lifestyle.[2] Her interview articles have been published in various sites.[3][4][5] Dhawale's responsibility as The Stigma Project Ambassador enables her to create and spread awareness, art, provocation and education in wide scale.[6] In her documentary video about Life After HIV, for Through Positive Eyes, she speaks in brief about her journey. The project was co-directed by London-based South African photographer and AIDS activist Gideon Mendel[7]


Indian Goodwill ambassador of The Stigma Project since 2012 which provides insight into HIV stigma within countries/communities and it enables her to create and spread awareness, art, provocation, education in wide scale.[8] Dhawale is also a face of RiseUpToHIV campaign with a tagline NoShameAboutBeingHIVPositive. Received KarmaVeer Award 2014-2015 from iCongo REX for selfless work through social activism and reaching out to break the myth against HIV [9]

Personal life[edit]

Dhawale currently resides in Powai, Mumbai. She is fluent in English, Hindi and basic Marathi, her mother tongue. She started her HIV Activism in 2011. She states Mother Teresa and Princess Diana as her role models. Mother Teresa inspires her to love unconditionally and Princess Diana who inspires her to give selflessly. Upon her death, she want her epitaph that read " Here lies a woman who lived life in such a way that she didn't die in vain"!


  1. ^ "Staying positive: On finding love after HIV". The Times of India. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jyoti Dhawale – I am HIV Positive whereas my husband is.." Facebook. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mumbaiyyagal". The Well Project. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Fight against HIV: I am Positive!". Jaagore. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Alternative". Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Asia Ambassadors". The Stigma Project. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Jyoti Dhawale". Through Positive Eyes. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Asia Ambassadors". The Stigma Project. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "iCongo".