Marginalized, Indian Women Face Growing AIDS Threat
June 20, 2006
Health experts in India are targeting married women as a new group in their campaign to raise HIV awareness. Data show that a majority of HIV-infected Indian women did not report multiple partners, intravenous drug use or blood transfusions. Instead, they appear to have been infected by their husbands.
"We need to expand the focus to include married, monogamous women who may not perceive themselves to be at risk, but whose personal risk is inextricably linked to the behavior of their husbands," said Suniti Solomon of the Y.R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education. "As more and more women get infected, notions of risk [groups] need to be redefined to more accurately assess potential for HIV infections."
Solomon's organization reported that a study of 3,357 women showed that, of those infected, more than 85 percent had a single sexual partner. Since many campaigns have targeted high-risk populations such as sex workers and drug users, married Indian women's understanding of their HIV risk and awareness may be low.
Although government figures put total infections at an estimated 5.2 million, UNAIDS estimates 5.7 million Indians were living with HIV at the end of 2005.
06.19.06; Krittivas Mukherjee
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.