By Ananya Mukherjee:
Till before some 50years, nobody had the slightest clue of what AIDS was. But suddenly it started spreading like forest fire. People usually have various facts and figures to offer when it comes to the origin of AIDS but the blind truth is that nobody knows where it originated from or how it happened to come to India. Some say it originated in Africa and some say it came from monkeys.
Truck drivers are known to be one of the most potent carriers of the HIV virus due to numerous reasons. A survey in 2006 proved that 40% truck drivers were susceptible to have AIDS.
After a person contracts a disease, it is his responsibility to know the cause and consequences of the disease. How many of the truckers know the basic difference between AIDS and HIV. Shocking but it’s just two percent of them as per the study conducted by Centre for Media Studies (CMS). An HIV infected person is said to be carrying the Human Immune Deficiency Virus in his body which remains in his body throughout his life.Â When a HIV positive person’s T-lymphocyte count falls to 200 or less he starts developing AIDS. Thus, every person with AIDS is infected with HIV but all persons with HIV infection do not have AIDS.
Now, some of the facts collected by CMS are that 95 percent of the truckers with AIDS were in the age group of 18 to 45 years and 80 percent were married and around 75 percent were in the profession for more than five to six years. This shows that more than illiteracy, ignorance and being away from home for long durations were the main reasons behind the spread of the disease among the truckers’ community.
Certain steps that we can take to curb this disease and bring a change unto the lives of the truckers’Â are:
As part of the third phase of the National AIDS control programme (2007-2013) 60 truckers interventions have been set up at major trans-shipment locations tasked with providing behavioural change education, condom and STI services to truckers. So far these interventions reach about 1.4 million out of an estimated 3 million truck drivers.
We have too many conceptions and misconceptions in our society when it comes to AIDS. Hence awareness is very important especially for the mass of people who are uneducated and ignorant and do not even realize of the consequences after being infected. The need of the hour is to deal with them and to take their help in curbing this disease.