Do Income and Education Really Affect HIV and Aids in India? A Critical Note

By Mukherjee, Debasri | Indian Journal of Economics and Business, June 2007 | Go to article overview

Do Income and Education Really Affect HIV and Aids in India? A Critical Note


Mukherjee, Debasri, Indian Journal of Economics and Business


Abstract

This paper is an attempt to investigate the issue of HIV and AIDS in India; a country with the second largest number of HIV infected people. Our estimation suggests that four Southern and Western state dummies are highly significant in explaining both HIV incidence rate as well as AIDS count. Neither the income nor the education variable seems to play any significant role. The expenditure intended to curb the problem does not appear to have a significantly negative effect. This calls for more serious scrutiny of the social factors involved and the policy measures adopted.

Key Words: Negative binomial, HIV, AIDS

JEL Classification No. C1, I12, O1

I. INTRODUCTION

According to an estimate from the Indian Government, about 3.86 million people were suffering from HIV infection in India in the year 2000. With this number, India became a country with the second largest number of HIV infected people, after South Africa. "If effective prevention efforts are not implemented and sustained over the long term, mathematical models suggest that India could have over 30 million people infected by 2010. (Nagelkerke and de Vlas 2003)." See Sheshadri et al (2003) for the details. Surprisingly, the four southern states, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu account for about two-thirds of HIV infections in India. The epidemic has transmitted from the sex workers and truck drivers to the common people, from urban to rural areas. A brief overview of the situations in these four states, as quoted from Avert.org, (www.Avert.org) is presented below.

Andhra Pradesh is located in the southeast of the country with a total population of around 76 million. The vast majority of infections in Andhra Pradesh are believed to result from sexual transmission. HIV prevalence at STD clinics was 22.8% in 2005.

Karnataka has a population of around 53 million. Districts with the highest prevalence tend to be located in and around Bangalore in the southern part of the state, or in northern Karnataka's "devadasi belt." The average HIV prevalence among female sex workers in Karnataka was 18% in 2005.

Mumbai (Bombay) is the capital city of Maharashtra state and is the most populous city in India, with around 20 million inhabitants. Maharashtra is a very large state with a total population of around 97 million. Surveys of female sex workers have found rates of infection above 20% in this Western state. Very high rates are also found among injecting drug users.

Tamil Nadu is a southern Indian state containing about 62 million people. HIV prevalence among injecting drug users was 18% in 2005.

A National AIDS Control Program was launched in 1987 and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) was established in 1992. NACO carries out the program through prevention, formulation of policies and control. NACO provides funds to state AIDS control societies for targeted interventions, blood safety, youth campaigns, VCT (voluntary testing and counseling), care and support and social mobilization. The program also aims to promote co-operation among public, private and voluntary sectors. NACO-sponsored prevention efforts have included concerts, TV programs, radio drama, and radio programs. The school AIDS education program in India includes training teachers and peer educators among students, role-playing, debates and discussions. The program has worked with student youth to raise awareness levels, and to help young people resist peer pressure and develop a safe and responsible life-style. However, the Indian government has been criticized for focusing only on the "high risk groups", such as sex workers, drug users and truck drivers. But this approach is inadequate simply because in many Indian states, the epidemic is in the general population and it has been transmitted to the spouses and the newly born children of the "high risk groups" as well. …

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