Daily wager Basanti had dreamt of leading a better life after her husband Sanatan got a job in Kolkata at a factory. Little did she know that he would return home after two years with HIV. Now, 12 years after her marriage, this 38-year-old woman, affected with HIV, has lost all hopes for survival. Their two children however, were lucky enough not to get affected by the disease.
This is not the only case. Despite numerous awareness programmes, AIDS is spreading its tentacles rapidly in the district. An estimate says 206 persons have died in the district in last 10 years.
Of the 1,47,077 blood samples tested so far, 977 samples, including 477 males, 345 females, 104 children and 51 pregnant women have been diagnosed HIV positive. Of 138 HIV positive people, 34 have died in Sadar block so far. And two persons of the 22 HIV/AIDS affected persons died in Baliapal block.
Similarly, 21 have died in Bahanaga, followed by 13 in Remuna, 12 in Basta, eight in Bhogarai, 24 in Jaleswar, 25 in Khaira, 12 in Nilagiri, six in Oupada, four in Simulia, 28 in Soro and 17 persons outside the district were diagnosed here.
What is of concern is the number of positive cases is alarmingly on the rise and Balasore has been listed third after Ganjam and Koraput as far as HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the State is concerned.Reports from the Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing Centre (VCCTC) reveal that 19 persons were tested positive out of 277 blood samples collected in 2003 while the figure was 163 of 48,127 samples in 2012 and till October this year, 102 of 39,016 persons were tested positive for HIV.
Though the number of affected persons has shown a decreasing trend since last year, overall records paint an alarming picture. At least 28 were tested positive in 2004, followed by 47 in 2005, 56 in 2006, 85 in 2007, 62 in 2008, 136 in 2009, 138 in 2010 and 141 in 2011.
According to reports, 70 per cent of the transmission was through unhygienic and multiple sexual relations.
Besides, the lack of adequate medical care, treatment facilities and socio-economic support from families and the community have driven many patients to despair.
One of the reasons for the rising number of HIV positive cases in the district was due to the high incidence of migration from this region to neighbouring States for employment.
Statistics indicated that above 90 percent of the affected were those who had migrated in search of job to other states.
Chief District Medical Officer Anup Kumar Ghosh said the Government was taking all measures to minimise the infection rate