The people of Morab, a village around 30 km from Hubli in Karnataka, have refused to drink water from their lake after an HIV-positive woman committed suicide in it earlier this week. According to News18, the lake is the only source of water for villagers and cattle, and this has forced authorities to drain the lake, which is the size of 25 football fields. They hope to refill it with water from the Malaprabha canal.
Dharwad district health officer Dr Rajendra Doddamani told Indiatimes,
“This is unfortunate. We have been telling people not to panic as HIV does not spread through water. But the people are not convinced and they have started draining out the lake.”
HIV only spreads through bodily fluids, and cannot survive for more than a few minutes in air or water.
After the woman’s body was found, a rumour spread that the lake had been contaminated. The villagers refused to drink the water and authorities have had to deploy 20 siphon tubes to pump out the water.
Despite it being 2018, the social stigma around HIV still continues to plague us. It’s a sad state of affairs that so much water has to go to waste, simply because of a lack of awareness. Despite there being no danger of the virus spreading, the lake had to be drained due to misinformation about a health issue. It’s high time, we made people more aware about these issues.