May 2, 2007
The authors of the current study sought "to assess the prevalence and determinants of HIV infection in the general population in Bagalkot district, a largely rural district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka."
From 10 villages and six towns in three of Bagalkot's six sub-districts, approximately 6,700 participants ages 15-49 were randomly sampled. Consenting respondents were given a questionnaire, followed by blood collection and testing for HIV, syphilis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) on a 25 percent sub-sample.
HIV prevalence was 2.9 percent overall, 2.4 percent in urban areas and 3.6 percent in rural areas [odds ratio (OR), 0.65; 95 percent confidence interval (CI), 0.45-0.95]. Between the three sub-districts, significant differences in HIV prevalence were seen, with prevalences of 1.1, 3.0 and 6.4 percent (P"The rural nature of this epidemic has important implications for prevention and care programs," the researchers concluded. "The striking differentials observed in HIV prevalence between sub-districts and even villages suggest that risk and vulnerability for HIV are highly heterogeneous. Further research is required to understand the individual and community-level factors behind these differentials, so that preventive interventions can be directed to where they are most needed."