Lake in India drained after discovery of HIV-infected body

Lake in India drained after discovery of HIV-infected body

Indian authorities said they have been busy pumping water out of a sprawling lake in the south of the country in an effort to allay local villagers' fears that it was contaminated after the discovery of the body of a woman infected with HIV a week ago.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the 150-odd residents of the village had refused to consume the lake water over reports that the woman had recently been tested positive for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) by a private laboratory. Unable to reassure the locals, authorities are now draining the 36-acre lake and planning to refill it with water from the Malaprabha canal.

Authorities attempted to convince them that HIV can not be transmitted by water and that there's no risk of getting the virus by drinking the water.

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Last year, a boy had drowned in the same lake but no hue and cry was made over use of the water at that time, Ravi Kagadal, former panchayat member, said. "It was decomposed, bloated. villagers decided not to use the water until fresh water was filled in the lake", panchayat development officer (PDO) B Nagaraja Kumar said. There is another problem, the taluk administration wants us to finish the task by December 6 as the Malaprabha right canal will be closed after December 8, and we have to fill the lake. Hence, it was made a decision to pump out the waters with the help of 20 siphon tubes with four motors. "It is sheer ignorance stemming from lack of awareness".

"We tried to tell the people that HIV spreads only in four ways - through unprotected sex, unsafe blood transfusion, unsterilised syringes and from mother to child - and that the virus needs blood to survive, but the people were not convinced", the official said. "When an HIV-positive person dies, the virus also dies. This is totally unscientific as HIV doesn't spread through water".

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