In a survey conducted by the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS), at least nine out of 10 new cases of HIV infection are caused due to unsafe sex practices.
The survey, involving assessment of risk, has shown that a chunky 91% of HIV cases were a result of unsafe sex practices.
This is proving to be a challenge for health authorities who have managed to keep a rein on the other modes of infections as it remains a major cause of concern in containing the number of new HIV infection cases.
According to figures provided by MDACS, in 2015-16 184 new HIV infection cases were registered in Mumbai among three high-risk groups – female sex workers, male having sex with males, transgenders and injecting drug users – and 5.7% of new HIV cases were due to transmission from infected mother to baby.
“Earlier, 15% of new HIV cases were due to infected blood. It is now only 0.2 %. Unsafe sex is now a major concern as we found that among people newly infected with HIV, 91% have been infected because of unsafe sex,” said Dr Shrikala Acharya, the additional project director, MDACS.
Acharya said in HIV transmission, safety is the only prevention and therefore spreading awareness on practicing safe sex is a priority. MDACS plans to spread awareness on ‘Safe Sex’ via advocacy.
“For our high-risk groups, we provide condoms via our field workers, including NGOs. Through advertisements and other advocacy methods, we want to reach as many people as possible and spread the need to use condom and practice safe sex,” said Acharya.
She added that 79% of the new HIV infections were found to be in the age group of 15-49 and 36% of them were women. “If we compare the new HIV infections figures in last five years, it shows a declining trend. There is a 55% decline in new HIV infection but we need to spread more awareness on safe sex practice,” said Acharya.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by one of the well-known private players of condom manufacturer showed that almost 50% of people aged between 16 and 35 years think that HIV can never affect them despite the fact that across the world every 30 seconds a young person is infected with HIV.
It said more than 60% of young people surveyed confirmed that they are uncomfortable discussing safe sex.