BERHAMPUR: Rallies and meetings organised across the district to mark World AIDS Day made no difference to the life of nine-year-old Basant Tanti, who suffers from the infection. His father Paramananda and mother Parbati are also AIDS patients.
In Ganjam district, Basant, who lives with his mother in a village in Polosara block, is not the only child who has been suffering from AIDS.
Samir Swain (12) and Madana Jena (11) from a village in Rangeilunda block have also been fighting death after contracting the disease from their parents.
Ganjam, one of the poorest districts in the State, has several children suffering from AIDS. The young sufferers are often ostracised by their neighbours after the death of their parent/s.
As per NACO records, 897 children in the age group of 0-14 have tested HIV positive in the district. Ganjam remains a high HIV prevalent district in the country with around 14,036 people identified HIV positive between May 2000 and October 2016.
Of the affected, 42 per cent are women which indicates rapid spread of the virus among the general population in rural Ganjam. While the deadly virus has snatched away the livelihood of hundreds of migrant youths, several young widows, mostly below the age of 25, continue to face ostracisation and lead a pathetic life.
W Odisha dist in grip of deadly virus
Jharsuguda: The Western Odisha district of Jharsuguda is not spared of the AIDS scourge. The number of patients with HIV has been on the rise since 2002. Statistics of the last 15 years revealed that the highest number of 33 new cases was reported in 2015. This year till October-end, 28 persons have been identified as HIV positive.
Out of the 283 persons infected with the disease, 45 have lost their lives in 15 years. The infection rate is more in urban than rural areas with migrant workers and drivers transmitting the virus. Three cities of Jharsuguda, Brajrajnagar and Belpahar have been identified as vulnerable.
HIV cases on the rise
Bhawanipatna: Despite extensive awareness campaigns by the Health department and the NGOs, the rise in HIV positive cases in Kalahandi district has led to concern among the people. Speakers at a function on World AIDS day in Bhawanipatna stated that as per the data of Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres ( ICTCS) from 2006 to November 2016, about 787 positive cases were detected. Nearly 109 persons died due to AIDS-related causes, the speakers added.
Collector Brundha D called for combined effort of Health department and social organisations to create mass awareness to prevent occurrence of HIV positive cases.
Blood donation camp
Rourkela: World AIDS Day was observed in Sundargarh district.
An awareness rally was organised by Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH) here followed by a blood donation camp and a public meeting. Rourkela ADM Monisha Bannerjee attended as chief guest. A function was also held at Sundaragarh District Headquarters Hospital at Sundargarh town.