EVEN AS the nation is all set to observe 'World AIDS Day' on December 1, to remind people the death trail of dreaded HIV virus, Allahabad and Kaushambi present a very grim picture when it comes to HIV positive patients.
During the past three years more and more rural folk, youth, labour and women contracted the dreaded virus during their stay in Mumbai or Surat in search of menial jobs or from family members who passed the infection out of ignorance.
The worst hit were children, who got the infection from their HIV positive patients. For these patients, the only ray of hope is Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres (VCTCs) at Department of Microbiology, MLN Medical College, Manjhanpur and KNMH Hospital here, which is supporting them to lead a normal life, through counselling, care and treatment.
According to the data compiled by VCTC at the Department of Microbiology, as many as 139 residents tested positive for HIV from January to June 2006.
mongst them 91 were male and 48 were female. About ten children also tested HIV positive. They contracted the infection through their HIV positive parents or by the use of infected needles. As many as 46 children below 14 years also tested positive for HIV between the year 2002 and 2005.
"Daily 10 to 12 people come either voluntarily or through hospitals for HIV testing. At an average three to five patients test positive for HIV every week. The ratio of male and female HIV positive patients is 2:1. The trend of HIV patients is rising. But more number of samples also indicates that people have become aware and want to get themselves tested," said head of Department of Microbiology Dr Anudita Bhargava.
Dr Bhargava said the VCTC provide them all the counselling and support to help them lead a normal life, despite all the odds. There was also need to motivate youths (both male and female) to get themselves HIV tested before getting married. "There is also need to launch HIV awareness programmes in senior girls inter schools and colleges," she added.
WITH Four deaths and 36 full-blown cases of AIDS in the past few months, rural Kaushambi is fast emerging as high HIV incidence area. As many as 11 HIV positive cases were identified in June 2006 alone.
According to the official record, at least 50 per cent cases of the total registered cases are women in the age group of 20-45 years. Most of them contracted the virus through their partner. Also, except five HIV cases, all others are labourer working in high prevalence areas like Mumbai, Delhi and Surat.
The first official case of HIV was identified in June 2003 in Kaushambi. A 27-year-old grocery shop owner Raju contracted the deadly HIV virus, during his stay in Mumbai. The second official case of HIV, 26-year-old Dinesh was not so lucky and succumbed to the disease in June. His 24-year-old wife also tested HIV positive. Reportedly Dinesh contracted the infection from a red light area of Allahabad.
Nodal Officer AIDS Control Programme Kaushambi Dr SAM Meesum said at an average two to three HIV cases report every month to the VCTC at Manjhanpur.
"The study of HIV cases is also very alarming. Most of the HIV patients contracted infection due to abnormal and unsafe sexual behaviour and they also passed the infection to their partners," he said. Dr Meesam stressed on the need of launching a HIV screening drive for the migrants in rural Kaushambi.
Note: The name of patients have been changed to protect their identity.