India’s north east, home to some 60 million people, is amongst the poorest, least developed and most violent parts of the country. For decades, the region has been ridden with fractured conflicts and in recent years, another danger has been growing alarmingly - AIDS.
The geography of the Seven Sisters – the seven states making up the northeast – is part of the problem. The region neighbours Burma, the world’s largest drug producer, and the tiny land passage connecting it to India isolates it from the massive changes in the country.
The northeastern state of Manipur, has just 0.2% of the country’s population but 8% of the total number of its AIDS cases.
But people who have AIDS or HIV says the worst thing is the rejection they face from their communities once their status is known. A lack of awarness or sensitivity to the subject has many people hiding their disease which means that people are dying because of lack of treatment.
RNW’s Aletta Andre visited this rarely reported on regions recently and met some of the people behind the statistics. You can hear her report here.