The number of HIV positive cases among elderly people in the
central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has doubled in the past six years,
according to the official record of MP State AIDS Control Society.
At present, on an average over 450 elderly are contracting
HIV virus annually, the data shows. The number of HIV positive elderly people has increased from
218 in 2008 to 414 in 2014 in the past six years.
Since 2008, more than 30,253 people have been found to be
HIV positive in the state. Of this, 2,560 people are aged over 50. The official record shows that 86% of the overall
HIV-infected people contract the virus from unsafe sexual relation.
So, it could be deduced that a majority of the HIV-infected
elderly also might have caught the virus in a similar fashion.
Social organisations working for HIV positive people feel
that there are many factors responsible for this trend in the state - from
increased detection, lonely elderly people indulging in unsafe sex, to
downslide in the emphasis on AIDS awareness in the recent years.
According to them, increased migration of people in and
across MP, increased drug use, commercial sex and homosexuality were
contributing to the surge in HIV patients.
"Many elderly people become bored or lonely after 50. They
seek sexual pleasure by forming sexual liaisons and even seek services of sex
workers. They indulge in unsafe sexual activity because they are shy to go to a
chemist to buy condoms at such an age. They don't feel comfortable in that and
take a chance," they said.