In a worrying trend, the number of children contracting HIV from their parents has been more than 300 each in the last five years in MP, official figures have revealed.
It also means that roughly one child is contracting HIV from his/her parents everyday in Madhya Pradesh.
According to the Madhya Pradesh State AIDS Control Society data, the number of such HIV positive children has increased from 248 in 2008 to 301 in 2014 (till October).
Overall 30,253 people in the state have been found to be HIV positive since 2008. Last year alone, 4,837 people were detected HIV+, the society stated.
Projector coordinator of NGO Asha Smita Foundation, Sanjeev Saxena, who works for HIV affected people in MP and even distributed condoms to truck drivers on Tuesday, told HT that the increasing number of children with HIV was primarily because of ignorance of parents and lack of enough awareness drives.
“There are certain belts in the state like districts bordering Rajasthan where truck drivers indulge in highway sex. Besides, increased migration of people in and across MP, increase in commercial sex and homosexuality are some other factors that are contributing to the rise in HIV cases here,” Saxena said.
Health officials have a different take on the HIV figures. “The increase in numbers is primarily because we are encouraging people and mothers in particular to go for HIV tests. This has led to rise in reported cases along with other factors like increased mobility,” said Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, project director, Madhya Pradesh State AIDS Control Society.
Kidwai said although MP has comparatively low prevalence of HIV, the landlocked status of the state with lot of migration, increased drug use, increase in homosexuality and commercial sex work have led to increase in number of HIV cases in the state.
The first case of HIV in MP was detected in 1988.
Since then the HIV cases are on the rise here. In view of the seriousness of the emerging problem, MP government constituted AIDS Control Cell in 1992 under medical education department and subsequently MP State AIDS Control Society was constituted in 1998.
According to medical specialists, an HIV-infected mother can infect the child in her womb through her blood. The baby is more at risk if the mother has been recently infected or is in a later stage of AIDS.