MALAPPURAM: As the stage is set for another World AIDS Day observance, there is positive news for stakeholders who are on an unrelenting fight against the dreaded disease.Intervention by the Kerala State AIDS Control Society (KSACS) and voluntary organisations has remarkably brought down HIV infection prevalence rate among high-risk groups, including sex workers, transgenders, men having sex with men (MSM) and injecting drug users (IDU). The state recorded only 12 cases among high-risk groups in the 2017-2018 financial year. A total of 12 cases have been reported in the current financial year, according to KSACS figures up to September 2018.
Among high-risk groups, the state has now 14 cases that include four cases each from sex workers and transgenders and six cases from MSM. “Intensified campaigns are being carried out among high-risk groups. We have fielded trained volunteers who work among them and take care of them,” says KSACS joint director Dennis P Joseph. According to figures (up to September 2018), there are 886 HIV-infected people in the state at present.
No HIV case among IDU
With efforts yielding results, no IDU case of HIV infection has been recorded in the state in the past three years. “In 2010, HIV prevalence was 10.5 among IDU. It was brought down to 0.41 in 2017,” says Dennis.
KSACS, jointly with voluntary organisations, has distributed fresh syringes to IDUs. “IDUs remained vulnerable to the disease as they used to hand over syringes. Our volunteers worked well and they were also given scientific treatment,” he says.
Migrant population a cause for concern
The migrant population has become a major cause for concern. AIDS was detected in 48 migrant labourers in 2017-2018, while 24 labourers were found to be infected during the period from April 2017 to September 2018.