9,603 people tested positive for HIV in Uttarakhand in last 16 years
As many as 9,603 people have been found to be HIV positive in Uttarakhand in the last 16 years, and a significant number of these, 536, were women, according to the data of the Uttarakhand state AIDS Control society.Updated: Feb 19, 2019 14:13 IST
As many as 9,603 people have been found to be HIV positive in Uttarakhand in the last 16 years, and a significant number of these, 536, were pregnant women, according to the data of the Uttarakhand state AIDS Control society.
According to the data, between 2002-03 and 2017-18, 9,067 people have been tested positive for HIV, including 5,911 men and 3,139 women. The data was provided in reply to an RTI query by Haldwani-based RTI activist Hemant Gauniya. In 2002-03, the state recorded 37 HIV positive patients.
AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the late stage of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS can take more than 8-10 years to develop after infection with HIV.
A senior official in the state health department, wishing not to be named, said these figures may not reflect the actual trend on the ground level as these are based on results of the tests undertaken by government health facilities.
“There may be many people who may not be coming for the tests to the government health facilities. Also, there may be many who are getting tested at more than one health facilities or repeatedly over the years leading to duplication of data. However, according to various surveys, the prevalence of HIV in Uttarakhand is around 0.13%,” he said.
Dr Arjun Singh Senger, additional project director Uttarakhand AIDS Control Society, said the percentage of HIV positive people had come down, but their absolute numbers have increased over years.
“When we started in 2002, we had limited means. Over the years, we have increased the reach of our targeted intervention programmes due to which more awareness was created. The surge in the number of HIV cases in the state over the last 16 years is primarily because the detection rate has also increased a lot,” he said.
According to National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), HIV is the virus that causes AIDS and is passed from one person to another through blood, shared needles and sexual contact.
A positive HIV test result does not mean that a person has AIDS. For confirming AIDS, doctors use clinical criteria like AIDS indicator illnesses, a list of diseases that are associated with AIDS and used globally as a guideline for AIDS diagnosis.
According to experts, about half the people with HIV develop AIDS within 10 years after becoming infected with HIV. This time varies greatly from person to person depending on varied factors, ranging from a person’s health status to their lifestyle.