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Posted at: Aug 15, 2019, 7:38 AM; last updated: Aug 15, 2019, 7:38 AM (IST)

HIV+ cases see a sharp dip in city

Awareness drives, measures by government yield positive results
HIV+ cases see a sharp dip in city

Dushyant Singh Pundir
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 14

The number of HIV positive cases has dropped significantly from 7.12 per cent to 0.73 per cent over the past decade in the city.

As many as 17,405 persons were tested in 2008, of which 1,239 (7.12%) were found positive for the disease. However, 1,00,045 persons were tested in 2018-19, but only 735 (0.73) of them were found positive.

Experts attributed this feat to various awareness drives and other measures adopted by the government. With substantial increase in the number of persons tested for the disease from 2008 to March 2019, the number of cases tested positive has decreased.

On decreasing trend, Dr Vanita Gupta, Project Director, AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, said: “We keep a close watch on high-risk groups. Awareness has played an important role in decreasing the number of HIV cases. We organise awareness camps and conduct on-the-spot tests at places were a large number of people assemble like malls, etc.”

According to the data prepared by the AIDS Control Society, 1,099 (4.94%) were found positive out of the total 22,253 persons tested for the disease in 2009. However, the number of positive cases decreased to 961 (4.09%) in 2010, out of the 23,519 tested for the disease. In 2016-17, out of the 82,887 persons tested, 649 (0.78%) were found positive, while in 2017-18, out of 89,100 persons tested, 678 (0.76%) were found positive.

The number of pregnant women testing positive for the disease also witnessed a dip.

The data shows that the occurrence of HIV positive cases in 2008 was 0.27 per cent among pregnant women, which decreased to 0.09 per cent in 2018-19. Out of 22,751 pregnant women tested in 2008, only 62 were found positive for the disease. In 2018-19, 29,678 pregnant women were tested and only 28 were found positive.

“In Chandigarh, targeted intervention programmes are going on for female sex workers, men having sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users and transgender. These high-risk groups are responsible for the transmission of HIV. Decline is expected if the focus in on these groups,” said Prof JS Thakur, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGI.

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