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HIV infection is the most serious public health problem, leading to increased morbidity and mortality worldwide. There are many risk factors contributing to the transmission of HIV infection. Our aim was to study several possible risk factors to which an HIV positive population has been exposed. A total of 350 HIV-positive patients attending the ART Centre and the ICTC of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow were enrolled in the study, after obtaining informed consent. A detailed history of exposure to various risk factors was recorded by direct questioning. 217/350 (62%) HIV positive patients were males and 133/350 (38%) females. Mean age of the patients was 32.2±10.4 years. Exposure to unsafe/ unsterile injections was the most common risk factor for HIV transmission in 81.7% patients followed by unprotected heterosexual contact in 57.7%, tattooing in 26.6%, blood transfusion in 13.4%, mother-to-child in 6.6% and injection drug use in 1.1%. Our study reports the presence of more than one risk factor for HIV acquisition in a patient and emphasizes that minor risk factors for HIV transmission should not be ignored in the presence of high-risk sexual exposures. General public still needs to be informed about the possibility of HIV transmission by unsafe injections and they should be given more right to choose safe injections for them. Efforts should be made to educate health care workers about safe injection practices to avoid a possible risk for HIV transmission in India.
HIV, risk factors, heterosexual transmission, unsafe injections, tattooing, India