45% of HIV positive people in India are women. Most of them got it from their husbands. In some cases, it has been transmitted to children. This is one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this epidemic.
As a society we need to empower women to have a say in matters that affect their life and the family. Women need to have a say in matters of personal health and family planning. Women need to be able to insist on safe sex with their spouse, when they feel at risk.
Especially at risk are those whose husbands are away from home for long periods of time.
We have lots to do in this area. Here are some practical suggestions for women:
1. Try to start discussions at home about HIV with your spouse. Make a beginning.
2. Try to assess whether you spouse may be engaging in risky behaviour. “Signs of Risky Behaviour”
3. Learn how to have “critical conversations” at home on topics such as HIV and Sexually transmitted diseases with your spouse. “How To Have Critical Conversations”
4. Call Samvad HIV Helpline for more about this.
Men could start talking to their sisters and relatives and spread awareness.