HIV deaths in Mumbai rise from 72 to 116 in past year
Overall deaths in Maharashtra have been decreasing; numbers high as data includes deaths that occurred in previous years but were recorded now, says officialUpdated: May 19, 2018 12:19 IST
There has been a rise in the number of deaths caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the city in the last three years. According to data from the Health Management Information System (HIMS), a government-based online portal, 116 deaths due to HIV were recorded in the city between April 2017 and April 2018. Corresponding figures for the previous years were 72 and 27.
An official from the Maharashtra District AIDS Control Society (MDACS), which implements the central government’s National AIDS Control Programme, said the numbers seem high as the data includes deaths that occurred in the previous years, but were recorded only between 2017 and 2018.
“In last two years, we had intense drives to trace and bring back all cumulative ‘ lost to follow-up’ patients on treatment. Outreach workers tried to reach homes of these patients and therefore, some of the additional deaths were reported during these years,” said Dr Srikala Acharya, director, MDACS.
Loss to follow-up refers to patients who are on treatment on Antiretroviral drugs, but abandon the treatment before its over.
A city-based HIV activist, who is on treatment, said, “Many patients from nearby districts come to Mumbai to seek treatment because of the city’s elaborate health infrastructure, but give up treatment midway owing to the high living expense in the city.”
At present, 36,437 HIV patients in the city are on treatment. Overall deaths, however, in the state have decreased in the last three years. Data from HIMS shows that between April 2017 and April 2018,1,345 deaths due to HIV were recorded. Corresponding figures from the previous two years were 1,390 and 1,426.