AIDS survey in Mehdiganj, Varanasi

Lok Samiti had organized a group wedding of 30 couples in Mehdiganj where more than ten thousand people were supposed to come. I was also invited there, so I thought that it would be a good start for Sanjeevni Booti’s work. I discussed about it with Lane and we decided that we would take survey of villagers about awareness of HIV and distribute pamphlets about basic knowledge of AIDS. Lane wrote matter for pamphlet and created questions for survey.

I got two thousand pamphlets and 200 survey sheet printed. I needed few other people to help me taking the survey so I asked my friend Raju, Sonu and Bablu, who are member also of Sanjeevni Booti, to come help me. Sonu got agreed at once but Raju and Bablu were busy with their work. But I needed few people to help me so I offered them their one day’s salary and Raju got agreed with this offer but Bablu still didn’t get agree. Lane paid for everything- pamphlets, survey sheet, traveling expenses etc…

I needed few girls also to take survey of other girls but I could not find one. I asked Nandlal if some of Lok Samiti’s female members could take survey of other females for Sanjeevni Booti, and Nandlal said that he will send two females with me. I reached at the wedding place but unfortunately Lok Samiti females were busy organizing wedding, so we could not take survey of any females. We did survey with over 80 people, and distributed one thousand pamphlets.

I was shocked to hear the answers of the villagers about AIDS. It seemed like they didn’t know anything. Few people told us that AIDS could spread through air, few said that if people make relations more than 5 times a day then they are more likely to get AIDS, few said that AIDS could be easily treated by medicines etc… Nobody knew that AIDS could spread by sharing shaving razor or needles. We asked them if any other NGO had ever met them to talk about AIDS and none of them said yes, it means that they had not talked about AIDS with anyone who can tell them reality.

We have huge number of AIDS cases in India and it is increasing rapidly because sex practices change as people start becoming rich, and our economy is booming rapidly. So I think number STDs would also increase rapidly in near future. I think government should do something otherwise we will have the most cases very soon, because we have huge number of people living in India. I think Indians are very open to new ideas, and use of condoms was never ever a issue for us, so I think we can control this disease easily. We just need to educate people.

Lane wrote the survey report and published it on Sanjeevni Booti’s webiste.

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