Researching evidences on prevalence of HIV/AIDS among tribal people in India

Ranjana Saradhi, ORG Centre for Social Research
Seema Zutshi Kaul, ORG Centre for Social Research
Mukesh K Chawla, ORG Centre for Social Research

The National AIDS Control Programme in India has made commendable efforts to formulate its strategies based on continuous research and evidences generated through Behavioural Surveillance Surveys among general population and high risk groups viz. sex workers, men having sex with men (MSM), intravenous drug users (IVDUs) etc. However, the programme is yet to mainstream indigenous population groups such as nomads and tribal people, which are socially vulnerable and have distinct sexual and health seeking behaviours. India has the second largest concentration of tribal population in the World. Indian tribes constitute around 8.2 percent of nation’s total population, constituting nearly 84.3 million according to Census 2001. Their sheer number makes it imperative for the Government to bring them in the fold of the national programme. The present paper tries to review the available literature and study existing programmes which may provide sufficient base to understand the behaviors, practices that drive the vulnerability and risk among the tribal people. The paper also explores primary data generated by organizations and individuals working closely with tribal people so as to provide a meaningful context to the review. The review reflects that the awareness and knowledge regarding STI/HIV/AIDS is low among tribal people. The sexual practices vary widely and youth are a highly vulnerable group. Frequent contacts with truckers, migrants, contractors, defense personnel and tourists due to economic reasons exposed them to the risk of sexual exploitation and thereby sexually transmitted infections. Health seeking was low and they relied more on faith healers and non qualified practitioners. The studies carried out among tribal populations are scarce and the evidence patchy. Therefore the paper recommends carrying out more behavioral studies using ethnographic approach in different tribal and rural belts and systematizing knowledge management on HIV/AIDS for developing strategic interventions for tribal people.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 3