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Year 2010

HIV Stats Fudged, Claims NGO

Times of India
10 December 2010
By Somdatta Basu & Prithvijit Mitra
Kolkata, India

More than 3,000 HIVinfected children – including scores in Kolkata – could be going untreated and uncared for in West Bengal, risking transmission of the deadly virus, with the state health authorities not even being aware of their existence.

Around 150 of Kolkata’s 11,000 streetchildren are infected with AIDS but have never been treated or screened, showed a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Aged less than 14, the majority of them – who have acquired the disease from their mothers – could die before they turn 18 or even earlier.

The alarming facts have been disclosed following the West Bengal State AIDS Prevention and Control Society’s (WBSAPCS) response to an RTI application. The body has put the number of HIV+ children in the state at 684, including just 50 in Kolkata.

Prantakatha, the NGO which filed the RTI application, has pointed out that more than 200 infected children have been traced in Kolkata alone. While the WBSAPCS claimed that their data has been compiled through various local networks and social organizations working at the grassroots with HIV+ people, Prantakatha alleged that the figure had been cooked up.

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