Maharashtra saw most HIV deaths in India in 2018-2019: Data
Data showed that Maharashtra reported 1,509 deaths during the period, compared to 1,361 deaths between April 2017 and March 2018.Updated: Apr 16, 2019 15:52 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maharashtra saw most HIV deaths in the country between April 2018 and February 2019, according to data on the government’s Health Management Information System (HMIS) website.
The state reported 1,509 deaths during the period, compared to 1,361 deaths between April 2017 and March 2018, the data showed. “Last year, Maharashtra had reported third highest number of deaths, now it tops the list, which isn’t good news,” said Chetan Kothari, an RTI activist who collated the data from the HMIS website.
However, according to officials from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the reported figures could have jumped owing to intensified efforts to trace patients who had abandoned treatment at government centres (loss to follow-up cases) in the past two years. “It is possible that in many reported cases, the deaths may have occurred more than two years ago, but were reported now after the government actively started tracing the loss to follow-up patients,” said Dr Manish Bamrotiya, national consultant with NACO.
Data obtained by the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society in 2018 showed that prior to 2012, there were 15,000 losses to follow-up cases, of which 30% had died.
The efforts to look for such patients started after 2017, after the NACO launched a nation-wide mission ‘SAMPARK’ to expedite the process of tracing them and bring them back to antiretroviral therapy (ART) services. The data that emerged in the following months showed that of the 12 lakh HIV patients from the country who dropped out of treatment between 2004 and 2012, around 40,000 were been brought back to treatment, said a NACO official.
Meanwhile, the HMIS website showed the number of HIV deaths in rural areas of Maharashtra between April 2018 and February 2019 was higher compared to urban areas (excluding Mumbai). While 1,421 people in rural areas died of the disease last year, 88 people died in the urban areas. NACO officials however said the treatment facilities are uniformly distributed across the state and further analysis needs to be done to draw inferences.
First Published: Apr 16, 2019 15:52 IST