ANDHRA PRADESH

Achievements come with a price!

Special Correspondent



Large number of birth control operations and the booming infrastructure sector are negating efforts to control HIV/AIDS



HYDERABAD: The State’s achievements in some key areas appear to be turning counter-productive in some others.

This is evident from the adverse impact of the large number of birth control/sterilisation operations and the booming infrastructure sector on the efforts to control HIV/AIDS. It may sound incredible, but high sterilisation of males (AP ranks second in the country) is resulting in low use of condoms that is, in turn, leading to spread of HIV/AIDS virus to groups that were hitherto considered safe. As is well-documented, AP stands next to Maharashtra in terms of HIV prevalence.

Migration of labour

The same is the case with the development in the infrastructure sector which is leading to large-scale migration of labour, thereby, contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS to newer areas. “There is no laxity in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS. But, the behavioural change is not up to the expected levels,” AP State AIDS Control Society project director G. Ashok Kumar said.

Mr. Ashok Kumar was making a presentation on the prevalence of the disease to elected representatives as part of a convention on “role of political leadership in combating HIV/AIDS” organised by the AP Legislators’ Forum in association with the APSACS, UNAIDS and other agencies here on Monday.

He said seven districts had reported less than one per cent prevalence, 13 others with prevalence of one to two per cent while only two districts – Prakasam and West Godavari – were causing concern with more than two per cent.

Assembly Speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy presided over the meeting and Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, UNAIDS country coordinator Dennis Brown, Parliamentary Forum on HIV/AIDS joint convenor and MP J.D. Seelam and others spoke. Dr. Reddy said the HIV/AIDS tests undergone by MLAs last year had resulted in more people volunteering to take the test.

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