COIMBATORE: The efforts of the State official has paid off as Tamil Nadu tops the table in the country in prevention of fresh HIV cases, while states like Odisha, Assam and Jharkhand, which were once considered as low HIV- prevalence states, struggle to control fresh infections.
Tamil Nadu has managed to reduce new infections by 57 per cent over the last seven years.
The number of fresh HIV cases in 2000 was 8,380 and in 2007 it reduced to 6,378.
According to a recent data released by the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS), says that in 2013-14 only 2,738 fresh cases (-57 per cent) were registered.
By comparing it with the national-level data provided by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the state was progressing at a much faster rate compared to the other states. According to HIV sentinel surveillance, the prevalence in anti-natal clinic (ANC) is 0.38, which is lower than the national average.
State Project Director Dr C N Maheswaran told Express that this was a result of massive awareness drive organised by TANSACS in coordination with the state government through mass media, interpersonal communication digital screens, internet, and mobile phones. Making counsellors available in all the health centres in every nook and corner of the state, promoting condom usage and providing them free of cost, specially designed awareness programmes for migrant workers and lorry drivers and free medical attention at testing centres have resulted in the reduction.
The 89 Targeted Intervention (TIs) in the state implemented through NGOs and Community-based Organisations (CBO) has helped them cover 69, 961 female sex workers, 481 injection drug users and 42,481 homosexuals in the state this year.
Around 3 lakh new sexually transmitted infections (STI)/reproductive tract infection (RTI) episodes have been treated at 156 designated STI/RTI clinics. The 94 NACO-supported blood banks across the state have also helped them collecting 2 lakh infection-free blood units that have helped HIV patients.