17462scr

SOVA HIV/AIDS programme: Inside SOVA’s clinic where they test for, and treat STDs. Surjit Sathua is examining a sample.Incidence of HIV is low at the moment, within the three districts SOVA works in, but the districts border a high incidence area. The districts are largely tribal. Most people are illiterate – 11-15% of men are literate, and only nine per cent of women. The majority of people are very poor and have low nutritional status and are, therefore, vulnerable to infection. There is a lot of migrant labour, both of people going out to look for work, and of people coming into the area to work in the new industries that are springing up, and a lot of sex workers. Few people go to hospitals, but rather consult traditional healers and birth attendants (Dhais). Many adivasi groups have a more relaxed attitude to sex than you would normally expect in India, which is reflected in the very high prevalence of STDs. There is also a lot of ignorance about STDs and about HIV/AIDS.SOVA is working on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV in three blocks of Koraput district: Koraput, Jeypore and Semiliguda.