The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the most extensive study on health and nutrition in India, said in its latest report only 57 percent of women have heard of AIDS.
India has 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the United Nations, which is the world’s highest caseload. But the prevalence rate, in the country of 1.1 billion people, is much lower than in most of Africa.
In rural areas, where most Indians live, less than half the women — 46 percent — were aware of the disease.
Activists said on Friday that poor awareness among women was fuelling the epidemic.
“This shows women don’t have access to information, translating into more women getting infected,” said Anjali Gopalan, head of Naz Foundation India, a leading anti-AIDS group.