Men With Multiple Partners Behind Spread of HIV/AIDS Among Women in India, United Nations Study Says
Men with multiple partners are fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS among women in India, according to a recent study conducted by the National AIDS Control Organization, National Council of Applied Economic Research and the United Nations Development Programme, The Hindu reports. For the study, titled "Gender Impact of HIV/AIDS in India," researchers surveyed 2,068 households in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu -- states with the highest HIV prevalence in India -- in which HIV-positive people live. In addition, researchers interviewed 2,386 people living with HIV/AIDS and 6,224 households without any HIV-positive people. According to the study, women in India account for around two million, or 39%, of the nation's estimated 5.2 million HIV-positive people, and a large number of new HIV cases occur among monogamous women whose husbands or partners have multiple sex partners. The study also finds that women represent more than 70% of the caregivers for people living with HIV/AIDS, and nearly 20% of the caregivers are HIV-positive. In addition, women are less knowledgeable than men about the disease, the study finds. About 63% of men knew that HIV/AIDS could be prevented, compared with 51% of women, according to the study. "There is a need to empower adolescent girls and women by increasing their knowledge about their body and sexuality, as well as about sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS," the study says. The study also finds that nearly 60% of HIV-positive widows are younger than age 30 and must return to their birth families because they are shunned by their marital families after the death of their husbands. "Biological, socio-cultural and economic factors make women and young girls more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS," according to the study. The study recommends that officials create programs that empower women to discuss safer sex with their husbands, as well as programs that provide protection and education for HIV-positive widows (The Hindu, 7/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.