HIV cases in Unnao: Hub of migrant workers, truck drivers makes this UP district a high-risk area
A quack, Rajendra Yadav, has been held responsible for allegedly spreading the infection by administering people injections from a single syringe.india Updated: Feb 07, 2018 23:11 IST
Mukesh (name changed), a native of Premgunj, is a truck driver and HIV positive. Recently, his wife also tested positive. They are one of the couples of Bangarmau area in Unnao who caught HIV infection through their partner.
Premgunj is one of the three areas in Bangarmau from where 63 cases of HIV infection have been reported since July 2017. Though a quack, Rajendra Yadav, has been held responsible for allegedly spreading the infection by administering people injections from a single syringe, the area is also a hub of migrant workers and truck drivers, which has aggravated the problem.
Experts say migrant population is a big reason why Unnao falls among the high-risk districts at risk of HIV in UP. A majority of the 20 high-risk districts — Jaunpur, Maharajganj, Azamgarh, Deoria, Basti, Pratapgarh, Ballia — are in the state’s eastern parts. Dr Preeti Pathak, joint director, basic services, UP State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS), said, “We have noticed a high number of HIV-positive cases among migrants in Bangarmau. Our study has shown that greater risk behaviour is due to migration, and it needs to be handled separately.”
In Premgunj, with a population of 1,200, there are about 50 people who work in other cities. Villagers claimed the total population of Dulhapur, Naseemganj, Chakmeria, Chakmirapur, Karumuddinpurwa, Takia, Ambedkarganj and Garhi Usmanganj was over 5,000 and about 400 were migrant workers. Kamlesh (not his real name), who also tested positive, said he worked in a biscuit factory in Delhi and came home twice a year. Four other men from Garhi work with him in the factory and return home after long gaps. “The area is a point for truck drivers to take a break and spend the night as the Lucknow-Agra highway is 4km from Bangarmau. Truck drivers from various states pass through Bangarmau,” said Babloo, a villager.
Data from UP State AIDS Control Society shows that from April-December 2017, at least 21,836 people were screened for HIV/AIDS from Unnao of whom 85 tested positive. Thirty-eight more cases were reported on January 24, 25 and 27. In the state, 4,543 workers were screened of whom 18 tested positive. Similarly, 4,425 truck drivers were screened and 19 of them were found HIV positive.