Prostitution and AIDS


Prostitution means sexual intercourse in exchange for remuneration and is one of the oldest professions in the world.

Females indulging in prostitution are often termed as ‘commercial sex worker’ (CSW) and their organizers are known as pimps.

Poverty is the root cause of prostitution. In villages with large families and low socio-economic conditions, young girls are forced into prostitution. They are brought to bigger cities and sold to pimps/brothels, often by relatives. These girls are trafficked to the red light areas like, Kamathipura in Mumbai, Sonagachi in Kolkata, Budhawar Peth in Pune and G.B. Road in New Delhi

However, now, even girls from good family background are seen indulging in prostitution since it provides easy money, known as Call Girls/ High Class Escorts.

Prostitutes don’t have a proper standard of living, many of them illiterate. They suffer from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS.

Truck drivers and their helpers, constitute their major clientele, since they stay away from their families for a long period of time and are known to be major vectors of HIV transmission by engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners.  

AIDS was first detected in India in 1986. Since then HIV has spread its tentacles in our country. In India, the main mode of HIV transmission is via heterosexual route. Females are more susceptible than males.
The risk of infection per single sex act, from a HIV-positive male to HIV-negative female in a developing country is much higher than in a developed country due to better hygiene and health care standards. The risk increases if one of them is suffering/ suffered from STDs. This along with low condom increases the risk four-fold. It is speculated that the spread of HIV depends in the short term by prevalence of STIs and condom use and are considered as the only factors that can be manipulated to limit the spread of the infection.

There is a very low level of awareness amongst the prostitutes and their clients regarding HIV/AIDS and STDs. The clients often refuse to use condoms and the prostitutes fearing loss of clientele submit to it.

These prostitutes often get pregnant, though many of them are sterile due to STDs and some of them also conceive. These children are at a higher risk of contracting STDs and HIV during the process of childbirth.

Although prostitution is banned in our country, it is very much etched in our society. There have been calls to legalize it, but nothing has come of it so far.

The only way to prevent or reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS is by providing better living conditions and health facilities to the prostitutes. Supplying condoms at a subsidized rate along with Condom Vending Machines in Red light areas, Railway stations, major joints/dhabas, Bus Depots, etc can decrease the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.

HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly amongst our youth who are the future of our country, just think what will happen if they succumb to AIDS.

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