Saturday, January 06, 2007

55 % of women have never heard about HIV/AIDS in MP

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Bhopal, Jan 06: Only 45 percent of women are in the category of ‘ever married adults between 15- 49 years who had ever heard of HIV/AIDS in Madhya Pradesh. This fact came to light in the latest 2005-2006 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), released recently by Government of India. This is the third survey in the NFHS series of surveys and provides information on population, health and nutrition in India and each of its 29 states. This survey is based on a sample of households, which is representative at the national and state levels.
In further analysis of the data tells us that in urban and rural divide- 74 percent of women in urban areas of MP had heard about HIV/AIDS while the figures is juts 35 percent in rural areas. This means that in rural areas in Madhya Pradesh (which is almost 75 percent of the total population of MP) women have never heard of HIV/AIDS. In case of men the figure is 95 percent in urban areas while in rural areas it is 59 percent and the total awareness is just 68 percent.

Experts believe that women are more vulnerable to HIV /AIDS as compared to men which means the efforts need to be targeted to reach them more then men. They add that range of factors like poverty, lack of information and decision power and factors, which impact gender discrimination, make her more vulnerable. NFHS data reveals that young girls and women in reproductive age group are at high risk in the state.
An important point to be noted in these data is- this only talks of whether they have heard or not. The data does not tell us about habits. The key to prevention in HIV/AUDS as given by the communication experts is to transform the information into knowledge then into action, whereas here level of information is very low, not to mention of other aspects.

Madhya Pradesh AIDS Control Society Deputy Director Savita Thakur accepted that there is no discrimination between males and females while creating awareness among the people towards AIDS. “Generally, all the training programmes are common for males and females. Particularly for females, we are trying to seek help from self-help groups to educate women and a module for imparting training to Anganwadi workers are is also being planned,” he added.

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