Lack of Knowledge About HIV/AIDS Among Women in India Puts Them at High Risk of Infection, Health Workers Say
Health workers in India are urging the government to launch a major HIV/AIDS awareness campaign targeted at women to fight ignorance about the disease and to curb its spread, BBC News reports. Of the roughly five million HIV-positive people in India, 39% of them are women. "Not only the illiterate women, but the so-called educated women also are not aware of HIV/AIDS," according to the medical director of Vasavya Mahila Mandali, a home for women in Andhra Pradesh. The Indian government says that it is trying to promote awareness. However, education about the disease is difficult because sex is a taboo topic in India, Anbumani Ramadoss, the country's health minister, said. Until recently, government-sponsored HIV/AIDS awareness programs focused primarily on high-risk populations, such as commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and truck drivers. Therefore, even people who are aware of the disease believe it is mostly confined to those groups. Nongovernmental organizations and HIV-positive people are beginning to spread HIV awareness to women in rural India, according to BBC News. Health workers fear that a lack of awareness programs could lead to the deaths of millions (Morris, BBC News, 9/21).
Additional information about HIV/AIDS in India is available online at GlobalHealthReporting.org.