PATNA: Despite aggressive campaigns by the government as well as NGOs, the level of awareness about HIV/Aids among Patnaites is quite low. Also, most of the city residents do not use contraceptives.
These were among the findings of a joint study conducted recently among Patnaites by a Unicef official and a government lady doctor. Although at least 70 per cent of the respondents were aware of the dreaded disease, they said they do not prefer using condoms.
The objective of the study, conducted by Unicef's sub-regional coordinator Tushar Kant Upadhayay and Dr Sarita of Danapur, was to find out the level of awareness about HIV/Aids in urban and rural Patna.
At least 200 household owners, mainly living in apartments located on Boring Road and Kankerbagh, were interviewed from April to July 2007 through a series of questionnaire. A survey was also conducted among a few dozen students of a premier women's college. For the data from semi-rural households, a random survey was conducted in and around Danapur.
Unicef's Allahabad-based divisional coordinator Sudha Rathor helped format the survey's questionnaire.
As per the findings, even professional couples living in the city avoid discussing sex-related problems in and outside the family. Sex remains a taboo subject.
Forget about using condoms, more than 70 per cent respondents were not even aware of the existence of Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres for HIV/Aids test running at each government sadar hospital, Upadhayay said.
The survey found there is no proper health education (related to risky sexual behaviour) for adolescents at any stage of life. Each respondent expressed his/her desire to know about how STDs and HIV are transmitted and how the risks can be reduced.