Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, November 29
As many as 1,470 HIV positive patients have died in the district since 2006. These are merely the people registered with the local ART centre in Jalandhar, excluding the number of deaths reported from private hospitals.
From 2006 till now, as many as 11,240 HIV positive patients have been registered with the local ART centre in Jalandhar. Of these, 7,486 are male and 3,749 female.
There has been a steady rise in the number of patients being reported at the ART centre in Jalandhar.
While in 2015, throughout the year, 839 new patients were reported (613 male and 220 female); in 2016, 756 patients were reported (571 male and 179 female); in 2017, the number rose to 932 (712 male and 216 female); and in 2017 till now 954 new patients have been reported (776 male and 208 female).
As many as 51 transgenders have also been reported to be HIV positive in the district from 2006 till now.
The number of new Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs) reported at the centre every year has also witnessed steady rise – while in 2015, as many as 232 new IDUs were reported; in 2016 at least 232 were reported; in 2017, as many as 339 IDUs were reported; and in 2018, 435 IDUs have already been reported so far.
Notably, while IDUs comprise a majority of drugs users as well as addicts succumbing to AIDS in the region, notwithstanding the recent ban of the state government on the sale of syringes without prescriptions, the number of IDUs has continued to increase in the district, which has various areas notorious for being drug hubs.
The local ART centre in Jalandhar, which receives on an average 300 patients per month from the Doaba region, gets patients also from Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala and Phagwara.
Meanwhile, Abhivyakti, an NGO, states there have been as many as 1,750 LFUs (lost to follow up) patients reported in the district from 2011 (when the NGO was set up) till now. Pursuing drop-out cases, the NGO termed financial constraints as the prime reason to drop out of treatment.
Amritpal Singh, regional director of the NGO, said, “Discrimination and bias with AIDS patients continues and since their health cannot be insured, many of them face many problems in getting treatment. Those from poor families drop out of treatment because they can’t even afford bus fares. The government has so far not paid heed to this aspect of patients.”
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