In this study, conducted in 2001, in-depth interviews with 19 men and women infected with HIV who live in rural areas were used to collect experiences of testing and treatment, the social impacts of living with HIV and differential impacts on women and men. Eight focus group discussions with groups drawn from the general population in the four villages were used to provide an analysis of community level views about HIV/AIDS. While men reported contracting HIV from sex workers in the cities, women considered their husbands to be the source of their infection. Correct knowledge about HIV transmission coexisted with misconceptions. Men and women tested for HIV reported inadequate counselling and sought treatment from traditional healers as well as professionals. Owing to the general pattern of husbands being the first to contract HIV women faced a substantial burden, with few resources remaining for their own or their children's care after meeting the needs of sick husbands. Stigma and social isolation following widowhood were common, with an enforced return to the natal home. Implications for potential educational and service interventions are discussed within the context of gender and social relations.
Pallikadavath, S.; Garda, L.; Apte, H.; Freedman, J.; Stones, R.W. HIV/AIDS in rural India: context and health care needs. (2006) Opportunities and Choices Working Paper No.13, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, 29 pp.