India, currently being one of the most populous countries in the world is currently struggling with the vast spread of HIV and AIDS. This spread of this disease is of major concern since there are currently around 2.5 million HIV positive Indians and the spread has not slowed down. There are several problems that make this epidemic particularly hard to stop. The first is that there is simply not enough sexual education and aids awareness in the poverty stricken districts. This combined with the lack of condom use has resulted in the rapid spread of infections, especially among high risk groups such as sex workers, their customers and intravenous drug users. Another issue is the transmission of HIV from mothers to their infants. While this transference is preventable, it often occurs when the mother lacks knowledge of the disease, lacks funds to receive the anti-retroviral treatment, or is pressured not to take this action. A third major issue that interferes with the prevention of the transmission of aids is the culture itself. Many people see it as taboo to talk about sex related issues, and many are not willing to admit that sex occurs outside of marriages. Some of the organizations that are trying to help are the National AIDS Control Organization, which is a government run aids prevention program and UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. Both of these groups have attempted to raise AIDS awareness by increasing education and promoting safe sex habits (condoms).
An Anthropologist currently working in the field of AIDS and HIV study, particularly of that concerning childbirth transmission, is Cecilia Van Hollen of Syracuse University. She looks at the experiences of mothers throughout pregnancy, childbirth and nursing and how this is altered by HIV and AIDS. She also analyzes the transmission rates of HIV in India and how it often how negative cultural effects on the low class women.