Saturday, August 19, 2006

India's Constantly Moving Sex Workers Are Spreading HIV Faster

India's Constantly Moving Sex Workers Are Spreading HIV FasterAugust 14, 2006 3:59 p.m. EST
Komfie Manalo - All Headline News Foreign Correspondent
Washington, D.C. (AHN) - A study made by the World Bank (WB) identifies India's transient sex workers as one of the biggest threats in the spread of HIV/AIDS. A repost says authorities are finding it difficult to track down the movement of both sex workers and their customers.
The report, which was prepared for the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada said, "A high proportion of female sex workers in India move, often as frequently as every two weeks."
It adds, "Clients of female sex workers are also highly mobile ... increasing the pace at which high-risk networks are linked, and this pattern can amplify local epidemics."
Statistics from the UNAIDS 2004, a global report on the AIDS epidemic, says India accounts for about 40 percent of Asia's total population; home to over 60 percent of the continent's estimated HIV carriers.
The WB said the constant movement is one of the major reasons for the transmission of HIV particularly among drug users in northern India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These countries lie between the Gold Crescent and Golden Triangle opium poppy growing regions, the report said.
In South Asia, the Bank says an estimated 5.5 million people were infected with HIV. But recent study found the number of HIV affliction is declining in southern Indian states. They believe sex workers in the area have begun using condoms.
The report adds, "Programming for mobile sex workers presents tactical challenges, given the difficulty of maintaining continuous outreach and peer education and condom supplies."
The same study found that Nepalese women who migrate or were trafficked to work in India's sex trade, were found to have a high potential for creating a "substantial epidemic" among high-risk groups.
Nepalese women who were engaged in sex trade and who returned to their country from Mumbai in India, have a much higher HIV prevalence. These women are also threatening to spread the virus to their male customers at home.
Mariam Claeson, who co-authors the report said, "Preventing HIV infection among sex workers in Nepal would certainly be more effective if they were coordinated with efforts in India focusing on migration and sex worker trafficking, especially in Mumbai."


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