Tackling AIDS in Odisha

The latest data released by the Odisha State AIDS Control Society is not heartwarming, though the state is shown to have seen a marked decline in the HIV prevalence rate.

Published: 16th January 2020 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2020 02:48 AM   |  A+A-

The latest data released by the Odisha State AIDS Control Society is not heartwarming, though the state is shown to have seen a marked decline in the HIV prevalence rate. The youth continue to be most vulnerable and the number of youngsters with HIV is on the rise. According to the figures for 2019-20, of the 2,467 new infections recorded in the state up to December 2019, 996—around 40%—are in those falling in the 15-35 age group. In 2018-19, the share of youth in new cases was 32%.

The increase in youth vulnerability not only comes as a warning for the government and agencies working for the prevention of HIV and AIDS in the state, but also casts a shadow on the interventions and activities to insulate the population from the affliction. Most importantly, it puts the spotlight on the efficacy of intensive awareness campaigns undertaken by the government and its agencies to educate the people, particularly the youth and vulnerable sections, on adoption of safe practices and lifestyle.

Data reveals that over 80% of HIV cases in Odisha are through sexual transmission. That this comes after prolonged population sensitisation measures, which raise awareness on safe sexual practices, is disturbing. It is true that youth today are more sexually active and are given to exploration due to greater exposure as well as growing openness in society. But the fact that the youth are aware of the dangers of unprotected sex and still not heeding the warnings needs attention.

Though Odisha has posted a decline in HIV prevalence rate from 1.24% of the general population in 2012 to 0.62% in 2018-19, it is more due to the increase in screening of people. Detection of new cases year on year has remained similar—for instance, 3,653 in 2008 and 3,209 in 2018. There are a total of 50,228 HIV positive people in Odisha at present. With the state having set a target of eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, the next decade should see an all-out effort. The current strategy needs urgent reorientation so that the people, both young and old, do not fall prey to HIV and the goal is achieved.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp