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HIV/AIDS not a big issue in Assam: UN

Better social status of women in Assam is said to be one of the main reasons for low occurrence of the disease.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 12:39 IST
United News of India
United News of India

With one new HIV infection occurring every six seconds and 14,000 people getting infected every day on an average world-wide, according to United Nations (UN) reports, Assam presented a better scenario with just 401 reported cases of the virus.

Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General and his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific Nafis Sadik, who was in the state recently to take stock of the HIV situation in Assam, observed that HIV/AIDS was still not a big issue in Assam.

" But we are concentrating on creating awareness among the people before it assumes greater proportions, " she added.

Besides the north eastern states, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka had been identified as most vulnerable to the disease, she informed.

She linked the relatively lower prevalence of the dreaded disease in the state to the higher status women enjoy in Assamese society.

Dr Sadik said, " Women have a much better social standing in Assam. It is one of the main reasons for low occurrence of the disease. "

Of the 401 cases in the state, only 85 were female patients.

The world situation was much grim in comparison. A Kaiser Family Foundation report stated that women formed fifty per cent of HIV/AIDS infected people world-wide with an UN survey, adding that 80 per cent of newly infected women contract the virus from marriage or long-term relationship from primary partners.

The UN envoy underlined the growing spread of the virus through homosexual means.

First Published: Sep 30, 2006 12:39 IST