Karnataka authorities are pumping water out of a lake to assuage villagers’ fears that it was contaminated after the body of a woman infected with HIV was discovery there, officials said on Wednesday.
The lake near the village of Morab in Karnataka, about 440 km from the state capital of Bengaluru, spread over 32 acres (13 hectares) is a key source of drinking water for more than 1,000 people who live in the drought-affected region and earn their livelihoods by farming.
“We tried our best to assure villagers that we would get the water tested but they did not budge and even refused to come near the lake,” Naveen Hullur, an official of the area told Reuters.
HIV virus is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse, infected blood and from an infected mother to the baby in her womb or through breastfeeding, but the villagers’ alarm at the discovery a week ago drove the demand for the lake to be drained, the official added.
The drainage operation has run for the last four days and fresh water from a nearby canal is to be used to replenish the lake over the next four to five days, Hullur added.
It was not immediately clear what the cost of the drainage operation is. The HIV virus, which causes AIDS, is not spread in air, water or in food, or by sharing cups, bowls, cutlery, clothing, or toilet seats. It cannot survive in the body after the infected person dies.
(With inputs from Reuters)