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Year 2010

Migrants Vulnerable to HIV

Times of India
06 December 2010
By Rema Nagarajan

Migrants Vulnerable to HIV
Migrants from South Asia who send billions of dollars as remittances to their home countries are extremely vulnerable to HIV infection as a large proportion of them migrate under conditions that expose them to greater risk of such infection.

Over 40% of the $44 billion in remittances received by India in 2008 was contributed by the increasing number of unskilled and semi–skilled Indian workers employed in the Gulf states and Malaysia. It is just these unskilled and semi–skilled workers who are most exposed to the risk of contracting HIV.

This was revealed in the report HIV/AIDS and Mobility in South Asia of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNAIDS and the International Labour Organisation released on World AIDS Day on Wednesday.

While data is not available for all South Asian countries, what is available paints an alarming picture. About 67% of the identified HIV positive cases in Bangladesh are returned migrant workers and their spouses. In Nepal in 2007, 41% of reported cases of HIV were among migrant workers. More than 40% of the women who have tested positive both abroad and in Sri Lanka are, or have been, migrants. Out of more than 7.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Asia Pacific, 5 million are in South Asia.

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