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Migration Spreading HIV Epidemic

Times of India
13 January 2012
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi India
Virus 10 Times Prevalent Among Migrant Than General Population

Migration is fuelling India’s HIV epidemic. National AIDS Control Organization’s (NACO) figures show that besides high–risk population like sex workers and men who have sex with men, the highest burden of HIV is among migrants at 3.6%, which is 10 times than that of the HIV prevalence among the general population.

According to the 2001 Census, 30.1% of the population was considered to have migrated (314 million) – a considerable increase from 27.4% in 1991.

Migration Spreading HIV Epidemic

NACO has identified 75 transit railway stations, where migrants board trains to reach destinations. They have also identified 107 source districts across eight states – Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan – that the focus of nationwide anti–HIV fight.

The Red Ribbon Express (RRE), which chugged out of Delhi on Thursday, will focus on testing migrants for HIV besides carrying out counseling and spreading anti–HIV messages. During its year–long journey, the RRE will travel through 23 states, covering 30,000 km and stopping at 162 stations.

A NACO official said, “Migrants are one of the major focus areas for the RRE. Last year, the RRE had stopped at 152 stations and reached out to 8 million people directly. We have identified 122 districts with high outmigration across 11 states that are on priority for starting community–level interventions.“

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