Wives of Nepali migrant workers get talking about sex
Separated from their wives for long periods of time, many turn to brothels during their periods of absence.
However, this lifestyle is leading to an HIV epidemic amongst Nepali migrant workers, many of whom never get tested and, as a result, die without knowing the cause of their illness.
Whilst only 0.49 per cent of the population of Nepal are known to be HIV positive – a relatively low prevalence rate by global standards – the government estimates that 80 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS never get tested. Therefore, not counted in the official statistics.
Of the confirmed HIV cases, a staggering 62.5 per cent are migrant workers and their wives.
It was only after his death eight years ago that Tika Thapa discovered her husband was HIV-positive.
He became severely ill after returning from working in the Indian city of Gujarat but told her that it was probably tuberculosis (TB). They continued to have unprotected sex.
“I didn’t know anything about HIV then, so I never asked him to get tested,” Tika said.
Now, 38 and HIV positive, she is telling others in Nepalganj, a city in Nepal that borders India, to be more vigilant.
As a worker with a grassroots group affiliated with the government’s National AIDS and STD (sexually transmitted diseases) Research Centre (NCASC), she said she had spoken to almost 500 people this year about how HIV spreads. Moreover, the measures that can be taken to avoid contracting it.
“When I share my experience with the wives of migrant workers, they tell me that I’ve opened their eyes and that they want to get their blood checked [for HIV].”
Read the full story at Irin News.