J&K Records Lowest Percentage Of HIV Cases At 0.6 %

Srinagar- Defying the reports that paint an alarming spike in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases in the country, a newly published survey has unfurled a sense of relief among the natives, as the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has recorded the lowest percentage of HIV cases.

On December 8, the government of India’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) released the 16th round of HIV burden estimations and fact-sheets for the country, including J&K. Among the mentioned indicators, several included indicators are of great importance to J&K in terms of health, diagnosis and treatment of diseases especially HIV/AIDS. This also includes those indicators that are relevant to the Indian Government’s 2030 goal of ending the AIDS epidemic.

Among the indicators released for the erstwhile state of J&K including Ladakh, several are based on education about HIV prevalence, estimated annual AIDS-related deaths, Prevention and annual new HIV infections, new initiatives being implemented by NACO, and PrEP—Pre exposure prophylaxis is medicine taken to prevent getting HIV—that have always maintained an influence over the rise/fall of HIV cases in J&K.

The NACO factsheet on estimation of HIV has revealed that in the category of
“HIV prevalence among adults in India, 2020”, the erstwhile state of J&K has recorded the lowest percentage of such cases at 0.6 percent. The highest HIV prevalence in India among adults was recorded in the Northeast states of India including Mizoram (2.37 percent), Nagaland (1.44 percent) and Manipur(1.15 percent).

As per the NACO estimation, PLHIV cases per million population for J&K has been recorded at 415 per million which too, is the lowest rate in India.

“The lowest percentage of HIV incidence per 1,000 uninfected population in India was recorded in J&K where the final percentage stood at 0.01 percent,” the report reads.

Besides the national report, J&K AIDS Control Society(JKACS) has also released the data for 2021 and as per the given figures, total number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) ever registered with JKACS (found positive after testing at ICTCs) as of October 2021 was recorded at 6671 while as the total number of people alive on ART treatment as of October 2021 was recorded at 2989.

The NACO report for 2020 HIV Estimation indicates that while India’s AIDS response continues to be successful, there is no place for complacency.

Nationally, new HIV infections declined by 48% between 2010 and 2020 in comparison to the global average of 23% (between 2010 and 2019). As per the data, the decline in new HIV infections was less than 50% in 17 States and UTs, while it actually increased in three States and UTs.

In terms of PLHIV cases (in Lakh), J&K has recorded 0.06 percent of such cases which is clearly the ninth lowest in India. The highest rate was recorded in Maharashtra (3.90 percent) while the lowest was recorded in Sikkim (0.004 percent).

“The lowest HIV incidence (per 1,000 uninfected population) in India was recorded in J&K where the percentage stood at 0.001 percent).

Revealing some other important factors that affect the demographic change in a region, the report has mentioned that the annual new HIV infections in thousands in J&K including Ladakh was recorded at 0.17 percent which is the eighth lowest in India.

The report has also revealed that the annual AIDS related deaths in J&K were recorded at 0.08 percent in thousand) which is the seventh lowest death rate in India. As per the figures available with Kashmir Observer, the percentage change in annual AIDS-related deaths from 2010 to 2020 in J&K has declined by negative 29 percent.

Notably, the report has also revealed that the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) needed in J&K in thousand was recorded at the ninth lowest in India with 0.05 percent.

The report has also concluded that there still remain some gaps that are a source of concern and need to be addressed. “Further saturation of CST(Care, Support and Treatment) services will cause greater impact and even further reduction in annual ARD(AIDS related Deaths) towards attainment of ‘zero ARD’ in the future, and simultaneously augmentation of HIV prevention by fast-tracking progress on ‘Undetectable’ which is directly ‘Untransmittable’.” The report further reads.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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