Risk of HIV transmission high in Rajasthan: WHO

TNN Sep 9, 2011, 03.06am IST

JAIPUR: Rajasthan is at a higher risk of HIV transmission due to geographical and occupational reasons such as tourism, according to World Health Organisation.

WHO officials threw light on Rajasthan’s status relating to HIV/AIDS at a press briefing on the second day of WHO’s South East Asia Region’s 64th session of the Regional Committee meeting here on Thursday.

Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar is in category A, while Alwar, Ajmer, Tonk, Udaipur and Barmer are in the category B in terms of risks and prevalence.

Category A districts are those which have more than 1% pregnant women suffering HIV/AIDS. Category B stands for districts which have less than 1% prevalence and with more than 5% prevalence in any high risk groups (such as truckers and mine workers).

The high risk groups include female sex workers, homosexuals and injection drug users. These districts require priority attention.

WHO’s regional advisor Dr Iyanthi Abeywicrame said, “There are many factors which makes Rajasthan a high risk state.

The reasons include, people from Rajasthan migrate to high prevalence states like Maharashtra and Gujarat and return with the disease. Another reason is that there are 19% of all mines in India, employing over 5 lakh workers, most of them migrants. Also, every day 25,000 truckers travel through Rajasthan. The truckers have high prevalence of HIV.”

She said the state is also important on the map of tourism. “A lot of tourists come to Rajasthan from foreign or from other parts of the country. Also, given the large population of Rajasthan, 68 million, even a small increase in HIV would translate into a large number of cases. Illiteracy is another reason of high risk.”

Source : Times of India

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