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When 'prevalence' Makes for Disparity in AIDS Care

er legal rights" would be addressed on a priority basis, Sahu said.

TANSACS has joined hands with the Legal Services Authority to reach out to destitute HIV positive women for free legal aid.

"We plan to involve the private sector in a big way in this endeavour. IT companies, automobile and other heavy industries and the plantation sector would be made partners in Tamil Nadu's campaign," she said.

In stark contrast is the way AIDS control is steered in the small town of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh that the government still considers a low prevalence area.

Doctors at the Gwalior Children's Hospital, supported by British charities, say their small hospital has three infected children but no government intervention.

"I believe the reason for government non-interest is that our region is currently low prevalence. Probably they are waiting for it to become high prevalence before they wake up. By then it may be too late and beyond control", says B.K. Sharma, who set up the hospital.

The hospital attempted to survey 59 existing laboratories and blood banks, including government ones, in this town for HIV findings, "but could not get any information in writing for confidentiality reasons", he added.

"As many as 39 laboratories have confirmed on personal communication that they re testing two HIV positive people every month on an average," said Sharma.

He added: "We could trace seven people with HIV positive status by personal contacts but they refused to come openly or take treatment for fear of stigma and dislocation.

"From the infectious unit of the Government Medical College Hospital, we learnt that two or three patients are admitted in a terminal stage every month. They belong to the poor community, and many more may be dying undiagnosed at home or other places."

Sharma estimated that within this semi-rural town at least 100 new HIV positive people are
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