Since April 2006 to November this year, as many as 1,189 people have died due to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The data include 859 males, 299 women, 16 boys, 11 girls and four trans-genders.
This has been stated in the reports gathered from local anti-retroviral treatment (ART) centre at the Shaheed Babu Labh Singh civil hospital.
The record shows that a total of 9,228 persons have registered with the ART centre including 5652 males, 3086 women, 263 male children, 189 female children and 38 trans-genders.
Out of the total people registered, 5,838 people started the treatment of ART at the centre but currently only 2,760 are taking regular medicines from the centre.
Going by statics, 1,471 patients were transferred to other districts while there is no information about 245 who had gone missing and 173 had stopped their treatment for unknown reasons, which are worrying figures for the health department.
Meanwhile, there is decline in the number of patients registered this year with the centre for medication from 562 in last year to 493 this year from April to November.
As per National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) guideline, the CD4 (a type of white blood cells that fight infection) levels are critical to HIV patients before administration of medication to prolong their lives.
Requesting anonymity, an official told, “As NACO recommends that patients with less than 350 cells per mm CD4 counts should start taking anti-HIV drugs because of which there is a difference between the total registration of AIDS patients and those who are put on ART.”
He told that regular medication is vital for the success of treatment and missed medicine dose can lead to the spread of the resistant virus.
The officials also added that the centre tries to reach missing patients through phone calls, and physical verification of their accommodations is also done but most of them had moved to other places without informing them.
The local ART centre deals with the entire Doaba region and sometimes, patients from nearby districts also come from treatment.
The inmates from Kapurthala Modern jail also visit the centre regularly. Due to heavy rush of the patients, sometimes CD4 tests get delayed and they have to wait for their turn.
As per government instructions the laboratory tests of HIV infected person are to be done free of cost at all civil hospitals and sub-divisional hospitals. Also blood samples for the same are to be collected till 2 pm.