M A I N   N E W S

Haryana steps up fight against HIV
Sets up 22 counselling and testing centres 
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Conforming to the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS), draft guidelines for the National AIDS Control Programme and with the objective of spreading awareness about the disease among vulnerable populations, the Haryana Government has set up 22 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres at Government General Hospitals and Community Health Centres in the state.

The UNAIDS / WHO 2006 report on the global AIDS epidemic has reported that Haryana reported 486 new case of HIV / Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) during the past year, which is 0.13 per cent of the national figures.

Instead of being relieved, the authorities in Haryana are alarmed because they feel that low detection of cases may not necessarily mean lower incidence. It is likely that it is indicative of a poor detection regime and failure to evoke confidence of the people to come forward and take the detection test.

Surprisingly, Chandigarh reported 1,260 cases, Punjab 292 and Himachal Pradesh 252. Tamil Nadu topped the list of new detections with a figure of 52,036 cases, while Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh were second and third with 13,747 and 12,349 new cases.

The WHO report says that 111,608 fresh cases of AIDS were detected in India last year that comprised 79,041 men and 32,567 women. A figure of 486 for Haryana could be because of a large number of people in the state preferring to travel to Chandigarh or Delhi for treatment.

As required under the National AIDS Control Programme that aims at preventive and care interventions for the control of HIV/AIDS, steps are being taken by the Haryana Government to provide counselling centres at the district level through the Integrated Health Care System.

The Haryana Aids Control Society (HACS), that spearheads the HIV/ AIDS awareness programme in the state, has appointed competent and trained experts for free counselling. theses counsellors will encourage vulnerable sections like truck drivers and sex workers to undergo the HIV detection test at a subsidised charge of Rs 10.

A spokesperson for the HACS said pregnant women who could be affected by HIV/AIDS were specially being encouraged to come forward and get themselves tested with the assurance that their names would be kept confidential.

Quoting the UNAIDS/WHO report, the spokesperson said: "It is estimated that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2005 nationwide was 5,600,000 men, 1,600,000 women and 100,000 children." The Indian National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) estimates that 5.21 million people were living with HIV in 2005, with an adult prevalence of 0.91 per cent. On the global AIDS epidemic, it says between 270,000 and 680,000 Indians died of AIDS in 2005.

Unprotected sex was the main cause in 86 per cent of cases, while 4 per cent cases pertained to prenatal transmission. Blood transfusion and drug injection comprised 4 per cent of the cases Nearly 6 per cent of all other HIV patients in India received the virus due to other reasons.

The Haryana initiative to spread awareness on the issue would see counselling centres set up at Naraingarh, Shahbad, Asandh, Gohana, Siwani, Saffidon, Meham, Nuh, Kalka, Palwal,Dadri, Tohana, Dabwali, Narwana, Sohana,Sadaura and General hospitals, Bahadurgarh, Hansi, Rohtak and Hisar.

A counselling centre has already been set up in M.M. College in Mullana.



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