juver hivA recent interview with Mr. Juver Ahmed (single, male, migrant worker) conducted on 11.06.2019 by SHAPE as a part of its periodical HIV/AIDS KAP survey exposed the following information.

After stressing his reluctance to talk to us for fear of losing his employment, Mr. Juver Ahmed agreed to an interview. He is from the Badurpur District of Assam (a North-Eastern State of India). He was unable to find employment in his hometown as he lacked the education and employment skills. While there were some opportunities in his home, they were limited in terms of wages and job satisfaction. Consequently, during the summer of 2017, he, along with twenty other single male migrants, moved to the Tiruvannamalai District in search of employment. He was hosted by a hiring agency that supplies a cheap labor-force to businesses all over India. Mr. Ahmed did not finish high school, and hails from a family of six children. His father passed away when he was ten years old.

Juver and two of his brothers work 120 hours per week to make €150 (INR 10,000) monthly. He has worked for four different businesses with over 200 colleagues in the past. When it comes to his personal life, the 21-year-old has had unprotected sexual affairs with over fifteen women in the past. He claims that his culture and friends avoid common Indian customs like sexual abstinence until marriage. He also admitted that despite being aware of the deadly effects of HIV/AIDS, he has taken no effort to learn more about the disease. Assamese hold a widespread belief that HIV only affects commercial sex workers. Mr. Ahmed lacks awareness of the practices that cause or prevent the disease. He has had affairs with local women, as well as women from his hometown. He states that his female colleagues are subjected to immense pressure at work, and are persistently looking to releave stress . Some seek sex, others turn to drugs. These practices are increasingly prevalent in businesses around the state of Tamil Nadu, contributing to the rise of HIV/AIDS in the area.

After the interview, Juver was devastated to learn that he could contract HIV/AIDS due to his sexual activity which neglected proper safe-sex practices. He was later sent to the District General Hospital for diagnosis.

– A Report by Matthew Gananprakasam, B.A., Field Officer, SHAPE.

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