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231 MEASURING THE UNDERSTANDING OF HIV/AIDS AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN IN SOUTHERN INDIA BEFORE AND AFTER VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING
  1. D. Gupta1,
  2. A. Melvin1,
  3. L. Frenkel1,
  4. N. M. Samuel2,
  5. R. Vishwanath2,
  6. R. Krishna2
  1. 1University of Washington School of Medicine, WA
  2. 2Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai

Abstract

India has become the country with the most HIV/AIDS cases throughout the world. In 2003 alone India had 60,000 new HIV cases, 21,000 of those infected were women, and 2,400 of those infected were children under the age of 15 (National AIDS Control Organization). Of the 21,000 women infected, 90% were of childbearing age, making mother to child transmission of HIV a major concern. The district of Namakaal, in the state of Tamil Nadu, documented a seroprevalence rate of 5.75% in 2003, which is one of the highest seroprevalence rates among antenatal women in all of India. To combat the rise in mother to child transmission of HIV the district of Namakaal established four voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) sites in Government Hospitals in April of 2000, which tested and educated women about HIV. Surveys were administered amongst pregnant women in a group setting to determine the effectiveness of VCT and if it was more effective for certain groups. Results indicated that the educational level of the women was the most influential factor on the amount of knowledge gained from the VCT session. Illiterate women showed a slight increase in knowledge after VCT, but VCT was more effective for women who had completed more years of schooling.

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