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Gender inequality and the spread of HIV-AIDS in India
Authors: Aparna Mitra, Dipanwita Sarkar,
Source: International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38 Iss: 6, pp.557 - 572; DOI: 10.1108/03068291111131409
Topic(s): Gender
HIV/AIDS
Inequality
Women's health
Women's status
Country: Asia
  India
Published: 2011
Abstract: Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to analyze the low status of women as being a major contributor for the observed gender inequality in the spread of HIV/AIDS in India. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses data from National Aids Control Organization, National Family Health Survey, and the Directorate of Economics and Statistics. Findings – This study highlights the problems facing women in deterring the spread of HIV/AIDS in India. The status and empowerment of women are important variables in combating the disease among both men and women in India. Literacy, education, exposure to the media, labor market participation, awareness of HIV/AIDS, and economic independence are important considerations in improving the status of women in India. Policymakers need to focus on gender inequality in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in India. Originality/value – While absolute figures indicate men are more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS, the rate of decline is higher for men compared to women in India. We explore several plausible explanations for such observed inequality in the spread of HIV/AIDS across gender. In particular, a potentially important factor – the low status of women in society is attributable as an impediment to the spread of the disease. A case study of the relationship between gender empowerment and the spread of HIV/AIDS in the state with the highest concentration, Manipur, provides more insight to the difficulties faced by women in combating HIV/AIDS in India.