AIDS claimed 1,400 lives in seven years in Odisha's Ganjam

Migration, ignorance and social stigma behind spread of HIV in Ganjam district

Published: 01st December 2016 01:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st December 2016 06:50 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Over 1,400 people died in Ganjam from 2009 to October 2016 due to HIV/AIDS. At least 14,036 persons in 22 blocks of Ganjam district have been identified as HIV positive while Rangeilunda has the highest 2,824 HIV+ and Jagannathprasad block the lowest 140 HIV+ cases, the Odisha State AIDS Control Society (OSACS), the State-level nodal agency for fighting the dreaded disease, stated.

Similarly, a report prepared by ARUNA, a voluntary organisation working for prevention of AIDS, said majority of people living with HIV/AIDS are from rural Ganjam. Migration, ignorance, low female literacy, inadequate prevention activities and high level of stigma are the reasons for spread of the disease, it stated.

To prevent it, targeted intervention projects for migrants, FSWs (Female Sex Workers) and MSM (male having sex with male), 17 migration-friendly information centre and adolescent health education centres in two blocks have been set up.

For the AIDS/HIV patients, 26 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) including one mobile ICTC, one community care centre, one child care home with capacity for 50 children, one home-based care and support project for Aska and Hinjili blocks, PPCT training for all ICT Centres and one ART Centre have been established.

The State Government also provides ` 300 per month to HIV positive patients under Madhubabu pension scheme.

Co-founder of ARUNA and former PPCT consultant to OSACS Lokanath Mishra said among top 10 high HIV prevalence districts in India, Ganjam has 14,000 identified HIV people. With the support of OSACS and proper implementation of PPCT by ARUNA-PLAN, number of HIV pregnancies has been reduced by 50 per cent in the district, he added. Secretary of ARUNA Soudamini Rath said out of 3000 odd villages, the coverage of current HIV prevention programme is limited to 100 villages in the district. During the last 16 years, 10 per cent areas of the district have not been covered under any intensive HIV prevention programme by the OSACS, she added.

Only one HIV-affected child born this year in State

Kendrapara: At least 25 HIV-affected children were born in Odisha from 2012 to September 2016 but the State reported birth of  only one HIV-affected child since January this year thanks to successful implementation of Prevention of Parents to Child Transmission (PPCT) programme, said Consultant of PPCT, Odisha AIDS Control Society (OACS), Trupti Mishra on the eve of World AIDS Day.

In order to prevent birth of HIV children, the OACS has provided anti-retroviral treatment (ART) drops under PPCT programme to 1069 HIV and AIDS affected pregnant women who given birth to 928 children and of which, only 25 children  were affected by HIV through mother-to-child transmission.

But it has been checked after launching of PPCT in 2015, Mishra informed. During 2002-2014, only one ARV drop was given to a pregnant woman at the time of delivery. But it was not enough to help HIV-affected women to deliver normal child, Mishra said and added that PPCT programme provides anti-retroviral treatment to HIV-affected pregnant women to stop their infants from acquiring the virus. PPCT drops will reduce the risk of HIV transmission to babies and protect mother’s health during and after pregnancy. Similarly, ART and other interventions can reduce the of transmission risk to two per cent.

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