By Radheshyam Jadhav
Once They Get Started, The Integrated Counselling And Testing Centres Will Give Info
With the exact figures of people living with HIV/AIDS in Maharashtra still grey, the move will provide access to complete and accurate information.
The Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) project director Dr Ramesh Devkar admitted that they do not have exact figures.
He was speaking at a state–level consultation on ‘anti–stigma and discrimination for people living with HIV with special focus on children’ on Tuesday.
An estimated 4.5 lakh people are affected/infected in the state in 2009. These include children, youth and adults, businessmen, homeless, sex workers, homemakers, homosexuals and heterosexuals.
The prevalence of HIV among sex workers, injecting drug users, truck drivers, migrant workers, men who have sex with men is much higher than that of the general population.
Since more and more people are approaching private hospitals in the state for treatment rather than government hospitals, designating them as ICTCs will help the government figure out the exact number of infected/affected in the state.
“It is estimated that about 4.5 lakh people in the state are afflicted by HIV which includes about 14,000 orphans and vulnerable children. This figure is likely to be more,” said Devkar.
Data released by the Union health and family welfare ministry says Maharashtra has the largest number of HIV–positive children in the country. The ministry said there were 11,938 new cases registered in Maharashtra between November 2006 and May 2009, 22% of India’s HIV–positive children.
“The state government is in the process of recognising private hospitals as ICTCs to get the exact figures of infected and affected people. As of now, the state government has to depend on estimates as there are no exact figures available. A large number of HIV afflicted approach private hospitals and many women go to private hospitals for childbirth rather than the government hospitals,” he added.
About 200 hospitals have already registered for the ICTC recognition. “The state government plans to train lab technicians and counsellors in these hospitals so that people benefit from their services,” said Devkar.
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has recommended wide promotion of voluntary counselling and testing through these centres. They have proved to be an effective public health strategy to prevent HIV transmission by reducing risk behaviour and increasing Condom use.
- Have you had unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex (eg intercourse without a Condom, oral sex without a latex barrier)
- Have you shared needles to inject street drugs or steroids or to pierce your skin?
- Have you had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or unwanted pregnancy?
- Have you had a blood transfusion or received blood products before April 1985?
These are the signs of HIV infection:
- Rapid weight loss
- Dry cough
- Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
- Profound and unexplained fatigue
- Swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
- Diarrhoea that lasts for more than a week
- White spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
- Memory loss, depression and other neurological disorders.
The next step
If you have tested HIV positive, do this:
See a healthcare professional for a complete medical check–up for HIV infection. Seek advice on treatment and health maintenance. Undergo tuberculosis and other STDs tests. For women, this includes a regular gynaecological examination.
Inform your sexual partner(s) about their possible risk for HIV. Your local health department has a partner notification programme that can assist you.
Protect others from the virus by following the precautions like using condoms and not sharing needles with others. Protect yourself from any additional exposure to HIV. Avoid drug and alcohol use, practice good nutrition, and avoid fatigue and stress. Seek support from friends and family, and consider getting professional counselling. Find a support group going through similar experiences. Do not donate blood, plasma, semen, body organs or other tissue.
Infections take toll
One cannot die of HIV or AIDS. Those infected die due to the effects that the HIV has on the body. With the immune system down, the body becomes susceptible to many infections, from common cold to cancer. It is actually those particular infections, and the body’s inability to fight them that cause these people to become so sick and they eventually die.
(Source: National AIDS Control Organisation)
Source :Times of India