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perinatal transmission (2.2%) (9). In Manipur and Nagaland injecting drug use is the main mode of transmission (11). Young people are at high risk of getting infected by HIV. Consequently most of the HIV cases in India is found in the age group 15-24 years (35%). The main course of transmission among young people is through unprotected sexual contacts(10). Poor and unemployed youth and street children are at a higher risk of getting infected due to low education and difficulties in getting access to prevention services. Many of them are exposed to HIV through sexual abuse or while selling sex for survival. In Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra and Tamil Nadu more than 50% of the sex workers are infected with HIV (2).

Women are also more often infected by HIV. They are vulnerable due to their low status, low education and gender inequality (8). A research done in 2002, showed that 27% of the men who have sex with men also have a female sexual partner. This makes the women vulnerable since the HIV prevalence among the men having sex with men is high (16). The HIV prevalence among the women attending antenatal clinics exceeds 1% (12).

Other risk groups in India are, like in many other countries, intravenous drug users, prostitutes and people infected with other sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the latest report from UNAIDS, the HIV epidemic in high-prevalence states is spreading from urban to rural areas, and from high risk groups to the general population (16).

The Indian school system The children in India start school at the age of three or four years. First they go to play school/nursery for one year, thereafter they attend pre primary school/kindergarden for two years. At the age of six or seven they go to primary school for four years (grade 1 to 4). After grade 4 they start secondary school where they go for six years (grade 5 to 10). At the age of 15 or 16 (after grade 10) they have their first graduation. Then there is the higher secondary school, also called junior college, which lasts for two years (grade 11 and 12). When finishing the 12th grade, they have their second graduation, and then they can choose to go to the university or the college.

In our survey classes of the higher secondary school were visited.

AIDS control programs in India Soon after the first HIV/AIDS cases had been reported in India in 1986, the Government of India initiated important measures to attack the epidemic. Pilot screening of high risk population started and a National AIDS Committee was immediately constituted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. In 1987 a National Aids Control Programme was started. The National AIDS Committee was formed to bring together different ministries, private institutions and non-Government organisations for effective collaboration in accomplishing the program. The committee provide overall policy directions and control the performance of the program.

In 1989, a medium term plan for HIV/AIDS Control was developed with support of WHO (World Health Organisation). This plan was implemented in the worst affected areas; Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Manipur and Delhi.

During the first years, the AIDS control programs in India focused on getting public awareness. Screening of blood for transfusion purpose was introduced and surveillance


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