Despite the fact that two thirds of HIV infected people in India are rural residents, risk factors associated with HIV infection in rural areas are not well known. In this study we have collected socio-demographic data of 6406 patients who were tested for HIV infection in a rural hospital of India and we have investigated risk factors associated with HIV. In women the most important risk factor was being a widow and the risk was higher in younger than in older widows. Other variables found to be associated with HIV infection were age between 25 and 45 years in men, low education level (especially those who only completed primary education) and working in a field not related to agriculture in scheduled castes and men from scheduled tribes. The results of this study express the need for HIV screening of widows who live in rural areas of Indian States with high HIV prevalence.