On 29 November, the deadbody of a woman was found floating in a lake of Morab village, Hubballi district. The age of the deceased is being speculated to be somewhere in the late twenties and she was reportedly infected with HIV. Fishes had eaten a large part of her mortal remains by the time people discovered it.

However, the lake is the only source of drinking water for the inhabitants of the village. The ignorant villagers bluntly denied drinking water fearing HIV infection. Officials tried their best to convince the stubborn mass and even assured a laboratory test of the sample but everything went in vain.

“Over a thousand people came to the lake with eight water tankers. They said that if we do not drain it dry, they would do it with the tankers they have taken on hire. What could we do in such a situation?”, An official clarifies why the lake spread over 23 acres had to be emptied with the help of 20 siphon tubes with four motors on Wednesday evening. The lake is to be soon refilled from malaprabha canal.

“It’s wrong to believe that the water has been contaminated with HIV because studies show that the virus cannot survive for over eight hours in water if exposed to temperatures above 25 degrees centigrade. Now, it’s been over six days since the body was recovered,” said Dr. Nagraj, Director of the Rajiv Gandhi institute of Chest and Communicable Diseases.

Ironically, the nation observed AIDS day 2 days later to this event ie, on December 1. We’re well aware of what stigma AIDS and HIV carry in our society. The cause of the death of the woman definitely arouses a lot of suspicion in such circumstances. What’s more worrisome is our people’s attitude towards the disease. They don’t know that the disease spreads only through blood-blood or sexual contacts and they’re totally cool with it!

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