Perhaps the most worrying aspect is the growing evidence in India of what HIV experts call "transmission chains", by which the virus percolates insidiously through social substrata and afflicts low risk individuals like housewives and children. During a counselling session both admitted they had unprotected sex with "high class" call girls before and after marriage.Of them, 3,161 had progressed to AIDS in which the virus cripples their immune systems and exposes them to life-threatening ailments like tuberculosis and cancer.NACO figures are restricted to the so called high-risk groups - prostitutes, homosexuals, drug addicts, truck drivers and migrants.But based on prevalence rates and samples surveys, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV AIDS, estimated last year that India has 3 million HIV infected people, probably the largest number in the world.In comparison, South Africa has 1.8 million infected, Uganda 1.4 million and Nigeria 1.2 million, although the percentages of the population infected are much higher than India's. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai, is currently treating two sons of a wealthy Chennai industrialist for AIDS. She looked at the crumpled paper in her hand; ordinary bond paper, covered with neat type. Two years ago he and his wife Leelavati watched helplessly as their son Jayesh, 39,died.
She got into a cab and mechanically gave the driver her address. "Rajesh is also positive," the doctor had informed her gently. Sunita Rao, MA, former high-school teacher and 33-year-old mother of two, was going to die of AIDS. Specialists are grappling with the national implications of Sunita's private hell, to come up with answers to combat the new threat that the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS cases pose in India. She opened her mouth to speak but, suddenly, it didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was her husband was going to die; they were both going to die. Numbly, she paid, nodded at the liftman, rang the doorbell. Rajesh rose from the sofa, took one look at her pale face, and sank down again. For a brilliant chartered accountant, he could be so stupid about some things The taxi stopped.
Officially, the figures don't speak of India's middle class becoming AIDS' newest victims - as yet. The doctor had just told her she was going to die, and all she could think of was her marriage. Six months later, Pooja, their 28-year-old daughter-in-law, also succumbed to AIDS.