India Intelligence Report

  Novel HIV-Aids Train To Educate Villages


India will soon host a novel project that will allow artists, doctors, and counselors will travel by a special train that will make 40,000 stops to educate villages about the dangers of HIV-AIDS. Funded by the National AIDS Control Organization, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, and Youth Affairs Ministry the train will accommodate different volunteers at different locations. 

Estimated to cost USD 5 million, the train will carry volunteers to vantage points where they will then travel by bicycles or feeder buses to villages. The volunteers will spread awareness on AID, ways of combating it, carry out HIV detection tests, and distribute condoms.

Spread of AIDS to rural India was unknown till recently when infected truck drivers went back home and gave it to their spouses who die from "mysterious causes." Lack of adequate healthcare facilities and trained doctors in rural areas mean that the patient often dies without knowing what she is going through. There is also a social stigma attached to the infected. As if it is her fault, the woman is ostracized and banished from her married home to live with her parents. If she has siblings, the stigma passes on to them and essentially ruins the family often forcing them to migrate to cities where they live unrecognized but in abject filth. To make ends meet, parents end up selling their other children into sex trade or as casual laborers. 

Therefore, HIV-AIDS cannot only be treated as a death issue in India as it has broader ramifications. Former Health Minister and actor Shatrugan Sinha will go down in history with his notorious assertion to a surprised Microsoft Chief Mentor Bill Gates (who is a major donor for AIDS causes) that there is no HIV-AIDS in India.


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