179 Kids Among 4609 HIV-positive Patients In J&K


980 people have died of AIDS so far: Director JKSACS

SRINAGAR — The prevalence of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that causes AIDS has slow­ly tightened its grip on Jammu and Kashmir as over 4609 patients including 179 kids have been test­ed HIV positive in the state so far.

The authorities at J&K State AIDS Control Society (JKSACS) said that because of the social taboo, people are not coming for­ward for the HIV tests and over the years number of patients infected by HIV has shown a rising trend.

Official data reveals the total number of people facing deadly disease (HIV) in the Jammu and Kashmir as on Aug 2018 is 4609.

“In Government Medical Col­lege Jammu (GMC) infected peo­ple alive on ART is 2246, while in SKIMS Srinagar 256 patients are alive on ART.

In Kashmir region, including Leh, the prevalence of HIV is quite low,” the data reads com­pare to Jammu. The information further reveals that 179 children below the age group of 15 years are also facing the HIV aids in the state. “In GMC Jammu 159 chil­dren, while as in SKIMS Srinagar 20 children facing HIV are alive on ART,” the information said.

KNS quoting sources reported that infected children carried it from their parents, while there were 225 widows in the state who had also been tested HIV positive.

Sources said that over the years the number of HIV pa­tients has witnessed an increase. Before 2011, the state had 2,573 HIV-positive patients.

“In 2011-12, only 22 fresh cases of HIV-positive patients were registered with the society, which witnessed an increase of 516 during 2012-13, 343 in 2013-14, 335 in 2014-15 and 302 in 2015-16,” the statistics of aids and control department said.

Besides, sources in the AIDS control department told KNS that more than 600 Army person­nel, who fall in the category of ‘others’, have been tested HIV positive in the state.

Director AIDS control society Dr Mushtaq Ahmad told KNS that the total number of people died so far in the state is 980.

Senior health officials ex­pressed concern over youth fall­ing in the trap of drug mafias. “The drug menace has attained an alarming proportion in the state. While the use of infected syringes is a major reason for HIV transmission mainly in the Kashmir valley, female sex workers, truckers and labourers are the main transmitters in the Jammu region,” the official said.

The other major causes of being affected by the virus are blood transfusion, unprotected sex and multi-person usage of needles,” experts say.

According to these sources most of the HIV-positive patients regis­tered in the state have contracted the disease from outside of the state.

HIV/ AIDS have emerged as the most challenging epidemic for the world. It has spread across the length and breadth of the India and the rate of infection has been con­tained by the concerted efforts of NACO through SACS. NACO cate­gorized all the States in three main categories viz, high, moderate and low prevalence States. J&K State is a low prevalence state.

Sources said that the unique geographical and socio economic characteristics have made the State vulnerable in respect of the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“J&K State is a tourist State and the visitors from all over the Country and from abroad visit J&K. Most of the visitors come from affluent States of the Coun­try, which include the States hav­ing high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Hence this state is at a greater risk of HIV AIDS because of being the tourist destination,” sources said.

Sources further said that truck drivers are considered as one f the important factors for HIV trans­mission in the J&K State. “As there is no rail link between Jam­mu, Srinagar and Ladakh, truck­ers play a major role for carrying commodities and other stocks from different parts of country to the State of J&K. Moreover mi­grants can be classified into inter­nal, inter-district, intra–district, intra-regional and inter State. In­ter State migrants constitute the major portion of migrant patterns. A study was conducted which identified 28395 persons as vulner­able migrants in 4 districts of the state,” sources maintained. (KNS)


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