Ktaka: Villagers empty lake after HIV+ woman jumps into it

After HIV+ Woman Ends Life In Lake, Karnataka Villagers Want It Drained

People living in Karnataka's Navalgund Taluk villages have forced authorities to drain a huge lake after HIV+ woman committed suicide in it.

The body of the woman was found in the lake on November 29. They took an unanimous decision to stop drinking water from the lake unless the existing water was pumped out and fresh water filled from the Malaprabha dam.

As Morab residents stopped using the water from the lake for drinking purposes and instead took to travelling almost three kilometres for fresh water, local authorities made a decision to empty the lake, Hullur said. Villagers now trek about 3km to the Malaprabha Canal to fetch water.

The 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. "Due to the fear of infection, the villagers don't want to use the water, and are releasing it", he said. Authorities tried to convince the villagers that the water was not contaminated and that they would test the water, but no one relented.

The lake is the only source of drinking water in the area and the source of water for irrigation. Villagers alleged that she was suffering from HIV.

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Doctors have dismissed claims that the locals risk being exposed to HIV if they consume the water.

Last year, a boy had drowned in the same lake but no hue and cry was made over use of the water at that time, Ravi Kagadal, former panchayat member, said.

District authorities have chose to distribute water from Mallaprabha river, a tributary of the Krishna river, among villagers for the time being. They have warned the Malaprabha right canal will be closed after December 8, so we have to fill the water into lake before that. "We will need 1-2 weeks to empty and fill the lake".

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