Though HIV prevalence in Uttar Pradesh has gone down in 2012, instances of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are on the rise and according to experts, will pose a bigger challenge than any other disease in the coming years.
In fact those with HIV positive status also suffer from tuberculosis, which is one of the opportunistic infections that cause casualties among HIV patients.
Till May this year, the state registered 3,238 HIV cases, as compared to a total of 17,185 cases registered in 2011-12. As per statistical estimates (till May 31, 2012) released by the health and family welfare ministry, the number of new annual HIV infections has declined by around 56% during the last decade in the country.
On the other hand, an open source research by the pulmonary medicine department of King George Medical University revealed the prevalence of MDR-TB among new TB cases at 3.54%, which earlier was thought to be just 1%. And, the prevalence of MDR-TB cases among old TB cases has gone up from 9% to 17%, since 2009. Multi-drug resistance TB is tuberculosis that does not respond to the first line of treatment. The difference in the cost of treatment between TB and MDR-TB is about tenfold.
“There were clear reasons why HIV was spreading and the government made an effort to check it. There are clear reasons for the spread of MDR-TB but there are no steps to check it,” said KGMU pulmonary department head Dr Surya Kant, who conducted the study at the medical varsity and Thakurganj TB hospital to study the prevalence of multi-drug resistant-tuberculosis.
The doctor said availability of over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions of anti-TB drugs even by non-trained specialists is the cause for the growing number of MDR-TB cases, apart from drug resistance itself.
“This is alarming and we need to understand the challenge that MDR-TB will pose in a few years from now,” said Dr Surya Kant.
In terms of HIV, UP ranked fifth after Maharashtra (13,107), Andhra Pradesh (9,363), Karnataka (7,400) and Tamil Nadu (3,238) in the number of cases in 2012.