Indian authorities drained lake to allay local fears of HIV contamination

Indian authorities drained lake to allay local fears of HIV contamination

Indian authorities drained lake to allay local fears of HIV contamination

The incident happened a week ago and since then villagers have been adamant in their demand to drain the 36 acre Morab Lake, which is the size of 25 football fields.

"Three days after her disappearance on November 29, her body surfaced".

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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.

Biradar called the villagers' act as totally unscientific as HIV doesn't spread through water. As of now, villagers trek 2-3km to the Malaprabha canal to fetch water. Morab Lake is the biggest in the Navalgund Taluk in north Karnataka and the only source of drinking water. When the villagers came to know that the woman who had allegedly committed suicide in the lake was infected with HIV, they informed the officials that they would not draw the water from the lake.

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"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. The water emptied from the lake is being fed to farm land nearby. Villagers alleged that she was suffering from HIV. "There is no risk of infection spreading from the water", she said.

Gram panchayat member Laxman Patil said the villagers refused to see reason, so pipes have been sucking water out for the past four days. In spite of the district administration trying to convince the villagers that the waters are safe, nobody is ready to listen. "The authorities must drain out water and fill it with fresh water to save the lives of villagers". "The decision was also approved by the local panchayat", Naveen Hullur, tehsildar of Navalgund taluk, said. "I will talk to officials to allow us to fill the lake from Malaprabha canal till December 20 or 22".

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