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Indian Traditions Impeding HIV/AIDS Prevention

A sex worker looks out onto Bombay's Falkland Road.
Brenda Wilson, NPR
A sex worker looks out onto Bombay's Falkland Road.

With the international AIDS conference underway in Thailand, the Indian government has released its latest figures on AIDS. About 5 million people in the country are infected with HIV; the numbers indicate the epidemic is continuing to grow but at a slower rate.

Some analysts, however, suspect that the impact of the epidemic is far greater, and twice as many are infected. They say the vast majority are unaware they have the disease. More men are infected than women, but that is rapidly changing. As NPR's Brenda Wilson reports, health officials fear that the powerless status of women makes them vulnerable to the virus.

In Mumbai, women are being sold into sex slavery, and rural women contract HIV when their husbands return after months as migrant workers. Wilson travels to India to talk with women about how cultural attitudes have put them at great risk for the disease.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brenda Wilson
Brenda Wilson is an award-winning correspondent and editor for NPR on national and international public health. She has developed a consistent body of work, examining the link between human behavior, social conditions, health and disease.

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