This day in 2001, Bihar had 28 HIV positive patients. Today, it has a disease load of 10,143 patients. Then, there was no reported death from AIDS. Now, the official death figure is 127. Five years ago, there was no known case of HIV among children. The State, today, has 226 positive children, including 145 boys and 81 girls.
With this statistics, Bihar observed the World AIDS Day on Friday.
The most alarming aspect of the scenario is that 20 to 25 cases of HIV positive cases are detected every month in eight districts of Bihar. “If we test hundred cases, we invariably find 20 to 25 patients suffering from the deadly disease,” confided an official of the Bihar State AIDS Control Society (BSACS).
The districts in question are: East and West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Purnia, Khagaria and Kishanganj. The official also said that the situation would turn from bad to worse, if the ground realities continued to be overlooked.
“Unless the Government handles the problem of migrant laborers and drug peddling in the districts, it will be very difficult to control the menace,” he said.
While not ignoring the HIV threat, project director of the BSACS, Amrendra Narayan Singh said the situation was not as alarming as it was being projected.
“In 2001, we had one Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centre, now we have 163 such units,” said the PD adding, “ with the stepped up surveillance system, more result are bound to come.”
Singh said the test results of the VCTCs suggest that the prevalence rate of the disease had decreased, and the absolute number of the cases increased. “In my opinion, this is because of wider population coverage by the testing centres.”
Notwithstanding what the authorities said, there is no denying the fact that Bihar is one of the most vulnerable states in terms of HIV/AIDS in the country. The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has also recognised this fact.
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