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Long highways and risk of HIV/AIDS


One male occupation that appears to be associated with increased risk of HIV infection is long distance truck driving a profession that requires prolonged absence from home and families.


This was a cross sectional study conducted over a period of 2 years in Jamnagar city, study population was 1600 truck drivers. They were contacted at the 4 entry points of the city.


46.8% were in the age group of 15 to 25 yrs.41.6% had monthly income between 1001–2000 Rs. Except 16.6% drivers all others were long distance drivers. 72% were married. 66.56% had addiction of tobacoo, 52.62% addicted to alcohol.58% had history of visiting CSWS. It was more among married.70.5% of married visited upto 10 times to CSWS.40.5% of drivers used to drive 11 to 15 hours daily. The common place of visiting CSWS was Rajasthan.56.9% of drivers never used condoms during sex with CSWS. A high percentage of unmarried (38%) truck drivers gave history of STD.27.5% of drivers remained away from their families for duration of more than one month at a time.52.8% had not heard about AIDS.55.56% of drivers knew sex workers as high risk group.53% considered sex as main route of transmission.70.7% considered condom as a protective measure for AIDS.69.6% did not prefer condom while sex with CSWS. Not even a single driver above 45 yrs age grp used condoms during sex with CSWS.79% of drivers who visited CSWS were less than 35 yrs age grp.


Information about the transmission of HIV and STDs and about effectiveness of condom use with all partners needs to be targeted at truck stops, toll plazas, border posts and at the work places of truck drivers. Misconceptions about condom use need to be eliminated and the seriousness of untreated STD needs to be emphasized.

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Bhalla, S., Somasundaram, C. Long highways and risk of HIV/AIDS. Retrovirology 3 (Suppl 1), P9 (2006).

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