Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

HIV infections in the US pass one million

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 16 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1409

Rapid Response:

HIV: What to do? How to proceed?

Dear Editor,

HIV epidemic is raging unabated, scouring millions each day.
Situation was really grim in Sub-Saharan Africa, and now the news comes of
rapid increase of HIV infections in the USA. India is also not bereft of
this devastating epidemic. Recently there was news regarding a divorce,
after the husband was found to be positive for the retrovirus. Luckily at
this point of time the wife of this individual is HIV negative and so are
her children. This example illustrates the breaking of matrimonial
alliance. There might be umpteen numbers of such similar cases which do
not get the attention of media.

Men are men. Some societies of the world do permit them to keep as
many girlfriends. In certain cases it is the number of female friends
that you carry around your sleeves, which matters to them. Then there are
cases of ‘Sugar Daddies’ and ‘cradle snatching’. On the other hand, in
cases of teenagers, it is common that while indulging with ‘experiments’,
they are known not taking effective precautions. This promiscuity
therefore can also lead to getting infected. The point that we want to
raise is that something should be done in this aspect. HIV state is a
taboo - no one speaks about it, and it is the onus of the one infected to
let the presence of infection be known, if and only if it is so preferred
and that too by the own free will.

In India, there are young adults, who are afraid of matrimony and
marriage, not because of marriage per se, but of the probability of
receiving/giving HIV infection as dowry. Luckily, although absolute
numbers of HIV infected may seem fairly alarming in India, in terms of the
percentage of general population, this figure is still quite low, albeit
increasing rapidly. However with the rules of the HIV disclosure in
vogue, it amounts to going in for ‘pot luck’, since matrimonies are by and
large ‘arranged’ in this part of the world. Recently one small community
has ordained its potential couples to get prenuptial HIV test, before
matrimony is solemnized. Obviously, this can not be made a rule; not
until agreed upon by world bodies and human rights organizations.
Therefore the dilemma- what to do?

The second dilemma in this context is about a very small percentage
of HIV infected individuals, who feel cheated and want to seek avenge.
Such people try all methods, some even unimaginable, in their fervor for
vengeance and retaliation. How to find such people and stop them from
their illogical motivation, needs to be addressed urgently. This is the
other major aspect we wish the medical fraternity (and human rights
organizations) to implore and find reasonable and lasting solutions in
order to allay the fear and anxiety.

With regards.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 July 2005
Dr. Rajesh Chauhan
Consultant, Family Medicine & Communicable Diseases.
Akhilesh Kumar Singh, Parul Kushwah, Brij Pal Singh Chauhan, Apoorva Chauhan, Akshati Chauhan, Shruti Chauhan, Shivendra Pratap Singh Chauhan.
309/9 AV Colony, Sikandra, AGRA -282007. INDIA.