Notwithstanding years of concerted efforts on awareness and education, HIV and AIDS cases are seemingly growing in Himachal Pradesh.
In a time span of six months from March to September, three new cases of HIV have been detected in tribal Lahaul and Spiti district, where only one case was detected till March 31 this year.
Earlier, there were 7,206 HIV positive cases and 2,501 AIDS patients in the state.
Kangra district has shown maximum increase in the number of HIV positive cases. Till March 31, there were 1,954 cases, which increased to 2,057 on September 30.
According to the data of Himachal Pradesh AIDS control society, 155 non-Himachalis are also infected with HIV and 33 by AIDS.
Hamirpur district has shown maximum increase in the number of AIDS cases, from 534 to 631 in the duration of six months from March to September, followed by Kangra, largest district of the state, where cases of AIDS were increased to 770 from 699 in six months.
Sirmaur and Lahaul and Spiti were two districts, where no new case of AIDS was detected as 14 cases were detected in Sirmaur and zero case of AIDS in Lahaul and Spiti till March.
An increase of 294 was marked in the number of AIDS cases from March 31 to September 30; as it was increased to 2,501 from 2,207.
However, the government had been claiming to have started many schemes benefitting AIDS and HIV-infected persons and families, besides running campaigns for making people aware.
Minister of health and family welfare Kaul Singh Thakur on Thursday said the government had adopted 'zero discrimination and zero death due to HIV/AIDS' for this year.
"The government has ensured that every person living with HIV has access to quality care and is to be treated with dignity," he said, in a press statement issued here. He said the government had been running many campaigns to educate people about AIDS and HIV.
"There is a need to make people aware, motivated, equipped and empowered with knowledge regarding HIV and AIDS so that they can protect themselves from the impact of these diseases," said Thakur.
Referring to the schemes of the state government, he said the government had been implementing many schemes for people living with HIV and AIDS and their children. The travel fare was being provided to such patients living with HIV/AIDS and one attendant for coming to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres for treatment.
In order to provide free-of-cost counselling, 45 integrated counseling centres were opened across the state. "During 2013-14, 16,376 calls were received for tele-counselling on toll free number 1299 under the AIDS control programme," he said.