CHENNAI: Officials from the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) conducted a screening and counselling programme for people living with HIV in the villages of Jawalagiri panchayat in the backward Krishnagiri district.
Express had on Monday carried a report on the alleged deaths due to HIV, highlighting the reported prevalence and also the continuing stigma faced by the villagers in the region.
Speaking to Express, S Natarajan, project director and member secretary, TANSACS said the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) staff conducted counselling in Jawalalagiri village. “I have also instructed the staff to hold counselling and screening in and around the remote areas of the village,” he added.
However, he denied that there were deaths due to HIV in Thally block in the district in the last four months. “Those deaths might not be due to HIV. But we are investigating about it. Also the projected numbers on PLHIV in the region cannot be correct,” Natarajan added.
Quoting Kumar, president of Krishnagiri Living with HIV and AIDS Welfare Society, the report had stated that there were over 8,500 people identified as HIV-positive since 2005. “Of this, about 3,500 - including 365 children and 1,800 women - are enrolled in the association,” he had told Express. In all, around 7,000 people are taking treatment, of whom, about 4,500 are taking Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) in Krishnagiri and Hosur, he added.
Explaining the facilities available at Thally, Natarajan said there were two Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres and ART centre that are functioning with adequate number of doctors and nurses. “Many outreach programmes have been conducted in the remote areas to educate people about HIV,” Natarajan said.