Mumbai paper clip: ‘Only 36.1% of slum residents know HIV doesn’t spread by sharing water’

Written by Priyanka Sahoo | Mumbai | Published:October 11, 2016 1:03 am

AIDS or Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome is known to be more prevalent in rural areas and slums.

Several studies have proved that lack of awareness about the condition leads to spread of the disease, particularly in slums.

To confirm the theory, two city doctors — from MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai and Topiwala National Medical College, Mumbai — surveyed 180 respondents in one of the most populated slum areas of Mumbai between July-September, 2015.

The respondents — 82 women and 98 men — were given a quantitative and observational questionnaire about HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus) with 18 questions.

The respondents’ knowledge was considered fine if they gave 13 correct answers or above. The study found that while the people were moderately aware about the disease — 67.77 percent respondents gave more than 13 correct answers — most people were not clear whether the disease could spread through touching and sharing.

Only 36.1 percent of the people surveyed said the HIV virus did not spread by sharing a glass of water with the infected and more than 26 percent said they did not know if it did. The rest believed that sharing a glass of water could, in fact, lead to contamination by the virus.

Even as 90 percent respondents knew that there was no vaccine that could prevent an adult from getting HIV, only 52.2 percent of them knew that sitting in a hot tub or a swimming pool with a person who has HIV does not mean contracting the infection.

The study found that men and women were equally aware about certain aspects of the disease but women were less aware about other aspects such as whether coughing and sneezing can or cannot spread HIV, and whether a woman can or cannot get HIV if she has sex during her period.

The report also pointed out the need for further qualitative studies and new initiatives to curb the increasing incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

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