Concern of people to get diagnosed and treated for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the State seems to be increasing going by the statistics of Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS).
While the number of people who visited the government centres providing diagnosis, treatment and counseling services for various STDs in 2010-2011 was 1,60,000, it increased to 2,80,000 in 2011-2012 and is 4 lakh in 2012-13, informed U Ramakrishna, in-charge deputy director, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, APSACS.
As stigma is attached to people visiting the centres, names of the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) Centres are withheld as per request of APSACS official. However, people who want to get information about the centres can dial toll free number 104, added the official.
Usually people don’t visit the centres fearing that others get to know their identity. Keeping in view the concern, Ramakrishna emphasised that confidentiality is the main theme of the department.
Ramakrishna attributed the increase in number of people visiting the centre to improved health-seeking attitudes of people and various awareness programmes organised by the department. “APSACS has been conducting awareness programmes through various media and by officials at various levels like medical officers of District AIDS Prevention Control Units, Information Education and Communication vans” informed the APSACS official.
Apart from providing the services for STDs like gonorrhea and other diseases, the 105 STI centres in the State also provide treatment for Reproductive Tract Infections experienced by women. Also, awareness and counseling about HIV virus is provided at the centres. All the services are provided free of charge by APSACS, shared Ramakrishna.
“To encourage people to speak about their problems, one to one set up is provided where people can talk comfortably. Apart from that, individual examination is done by docs” said Ramakrishna.