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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 82-83
 

Prevalence and knowledge of HIV/AIDS among the tribal women of Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya (North East India)


Amity Institute of Anthropology, Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication10-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Mrs. Soma Mondal
Amity Institute of Anthropology, Amity University, Sector-125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijstd.IJSTD_32_18

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How to cite this article:
Mondal S, Deb R. Prevalence and knowledge of HIV/AIDS among the tribal women of Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya (North East India). Indian J Sex Transm Dis 2019;40:82-3

How to cite this URL:
Mondal S, Deb R. Prevalence and knowledge of HIV/AIDS among the tribal women of Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya (North East India). Indian J Sex Transm Dis [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Jul 22];40:82-3. Available from: http://www.ijstd.org/text.asp?2019/40/1/82/257124


Sir,

Recent report by NACO confirms that the HIV epidemic is very high in Meghalaya (0.76%), which is the third highest in the country after Mizoram (1.19%) and Nagaland (0.82%).[1] Around 30% of people who are infected with HIV in Northeastern states are injecting drug users.[2] It is also documented that the chance of getting HIV infection is three times higher in women, who inject drugs as compared to men.[3] Keeping in view the above facts, the present study was carried out to estimate the prevalence and understand the knowledge of HIV among the women of West Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya.

A hospital-based study was conducted among 333 women belonging to the age group of 15–54 years in the two blocks of West Jaintia Hills districts. Out of the 333 women, 283 were screened under the study and the rest 50 women were already diagnosed with HIV and were undergoing antiretroviral drug treatment in the health centers. Knowledge regarding HIV was gathered using pretested structured and the screening was done by using WHO-recommended kit for testing HIV. The overall prevalence of HIV was found to be 17.7%. Out of the 283 women screened, 9 women were found to be HIV positive, and rest 50 women were already diagnosed. Majority of the infected women (25.8%) were between 19 and 24 years and around 18.1% had primary school education. These women (34%) acquired their knowledge from television, radio, and doctor, and 28.2% reported that their source of knowledge was from health counselor. The reasons revealed by women for getting infected with this dreadful disease were weak body constitution (36.6%) and sexual contact with more than one person (58%). Most of the women knew the causes of the infection (odds ratio [OR] = 3.42, 95% confidence interval [CL] = 1.91–6.12). Positive association was observed between HIV/AIDS and knowledge regarding injecting drug (odds ratio [OR] = 0.39, 95% confidence interval [CL] = 0.2–0.70). The study indicates that HIV can be prevented by increasing the level of education (odds ratio [OR] = 3.77, 95% confidence interval [CL] = 1.45–9.81). NACO (2017) data also confirm the spread of HIV in different risk groups, i.e., general population and female sex workers, especially in Meghalaya,[1] which is similar to the findings of the present study. It is evident from several studies that the younger age groups are more vulnerable for HIV,[4] and higher level of literacy has positive impact on the HIV prevalence;[5] this finding is also similar to the findings of the present study. A study conducted by the World Bank Group and AVERT revealed that as the knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS increases in the population,[6] the chances of getting infected become less among these population. Moreover, none of the women under the study were using condom so the chances of getting affected with HIV were more, and this was also reported by Lotfi et al.[7] Overall lack of knowledge, particularly pertaining to transmission and treatment of HIV/AIDS, was found among the tribal women of the present study. Therefore, it is necessary that HIV awareness should be strengthened at both individual and community levels.

Acknowledgment

We gratefully acknowledge to the District medical and Health Officer of West Jaintia Hills District; Meghalaya, health care providers and thankful to all the participants for their cooperation.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

1.
National AIDS Control Organization. HIV Sentinel Surveillance. National AIDS Control Organization; 2017.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Medhi GK, Mahanta J, Adhikary R, Akoijam BS, Liegise B, Sarathy K, et al. Spatial distribution and characteristics of injecting drug users (IDU) in five northeastern states of India. BMC Public Health 2011;11:64.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Lucas GM, Solomon SS, Srikrishnan AK, Agrawal A, Iqbal S, Laeyendecker O, et al. High HIV burden among people who inject drugs in 15 Indian cities. AIDS 2015;29:619-28.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Swain P, Das JK, Jha S, Sharnngadharan GK. Determinants of HIV positivity among injecting drug users in Delhi and Punjab. Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS 2017;38:121-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Literature Review on the Impact of Education Levels on HIV/AIDS Prevalence Rates. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
World Bank Group. IBRD IDA Annual Report. World Bank Group; 2017.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Lotfi R, Ramezani Tehrani F, Yaghmaei F, Hajizadeh E. Barriers to condom use among women at risk of HIV/AIDS: A qualitative study from Iran. BMC Womens Health 2012;12:13.  Back to cited text no. 7
    




 

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