This is surely a boiling issue for People Living With HIV-AIDS (PLWHA) in Uttar Pradesh. A study conducted by a city based non-government organisation has revealed that more than half of HIV infected people do not have access to boiled water. Reason: lack of fuel. Drinking boiled water prevents HIV infected persons from catching other infections.
The study conducted in a target group of 741 HIV infected persons in 15 districts of the state, including Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra and Varanasi, found that they had least access to boiled water, thereby making them vulnerable to water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, which at times, can be fatal. The findings were presented to the state rural development minister Daddu Prasad at a conference on ‘Mainstreaming water sanitation hygiene for PLWHA’, organised in the city on Tuesday.
Speaking to TOI, chief expert of the group, Dayanand Tandon said that most of the HIV infected patients are mainly concerned for their survival, instead of health. Also, they lack access to boiled water which can protect them from other infections. According to an estimate, there could be more than 50,000 HIV infected people in UP. Of these, around 48,000 are registered with the UP State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS). Experts insist that numbers are rising alarmingly every year.
This is not all. Almost 70% of HIV infected persons who catch other infections due to lack of safe drinking water do not have any sources of treatment. Moreover, 75% of the group is only primary pass. Close to 56% only earn Rs 2000 per month, of which Rs 500 is spent on medicines.
The study further draws a grimmer picture of sanitation facilities available to this group. Almost 50% do not have toilet facilities. Blame it on the lack of aw a re n e s s that 25% of the affected group does not wash hands before eating food.
Dr Bhanu, a sanitation expert who attended the conference, claimed that lack of proper sanitation facilities lead to problems in 70%-80% infected people. Mridula Sharma of UPSACS said the problem lies with lack of awareness among affected people. ‘‘Even availability of facilities would not suffice until people are made aware of the facts,’’ she said.Sharat Chander Jaiswal, an HIV infected worker of a network operating in the state said, ‘‘In many cases we find sheer negligence on the part of HIV positive people who often catch other diseases,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Daddu Prasad said he would ask UPSACS to prepare a list of HIV infected people. ‘‘We would ensure proper drinking facilities for them. That would include installation of hand pumps near their house,’’ he said.
Source: Times of India