About half of the cases of HIV/AIDS now fell under the category of home-based sex, and the number of patients in the age group of 16-43 was on the rise. These were some of the issues of concern and the need of the hour was to take up behavioural change activities to tackle the problem, said R.V. Chandravadan, Project Director, Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, here on Saturday.
Addressing a training session for media resource persons organised by the Centre for Advocacy and Research at Hotel Ilapuram, Mr. Chandravadan said that the scenario of HIV/AIDS spreading mainly through sex workers was changing and home-based sex was now the main contributor. HIV/AIDS could no longer be treated merely as health issue, as it became a social issue. This required multi-sectoral efforts to be intensified. Unprotected sex too continued to remain a challenge, he noted.
Addressing the 34th national seminar of the Indian Association for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS (IASSTD & AIDS) at The Gateway Hotel, Mr. Chandravadan said that the number of AIDS patients and sex workers in cities like Vijayawada and Guntur was high and any number of initiatives the government was taking was proving insufficient.
Pointing out that HIV/AIDS was posing a challenge to the field of medicine, he called upon the medical fraternity to take up this challenge and work relentlessly to control it. He felt that the government needed to augment its efforts, especially by releasing more funds.
Mr. Chandravadan expressed concern over disinclination of people affected by HIV as well as sex workers to approach doctors because of the social stigma. He admitted to have come across reports of government doctors looking down upon HIV patients and speaking to them in a contemptuous manner. This was forcing them to approach quacks and unqualified doctors. In some cases, non-availability of qualified physician too was a reason for patients to approach quacks, he said.