Payal, May 23
The campaign against drug abuse launched recently in the region has taken an ugly turn, with activists claiming that there has been a ‘spurt’ in the cases of AIDS and hepatitis among the youth.
Only 44 tested positive in a year: SMO
While the administration has not had anything to say directly to counter the claims of activists, Payal SMO Dr Jaideep Singh Chahal has highlighted that of 7,776 samples collected for HIV testing during the past one year, only 44 had tested positive at Payal.
The administration has fought back. Defying the reports of private diagnostic centres cited by the activists, it has announced plans to organise a health camp at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib on Wednesday. Residents will be screened for all communicable and non-communicable diseases at the camp.
Around three weeks ago, several residents of the region, led by activists from Dhamot, Sehora, Karaundian, Ghudani Kalan and Ber Kalan villages, had launched a coordinated fight against the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The office-bearers of various organisations had vowed to undermine those involved in drug abuse and trafficking and had even announced their social boycott.
However, the situation became clumsy recently after the activists, led by Baba Amandeep Singh of Dhamot Kalan village, claimed that a majority of the addicts had fallen prey to dreaded diseases like AIDS and hepatitis. “Outsiders will think a thousand times before visiting the village for matrimonial purposes,” he had said.
A video clip of this statement, made by him during a public meeting at Dhamot Kalan, had spread like wildfire on social media.
While the administration has not had to say anything directly to counter Baba Amandeep’s claims, Payal SMO Dr Jaideep Singh Chahal has highlighted that of 7,776 samples collected for HIV testing during the last one year, only 44 were positive.
Payal SDM Jasleen Kaur Bhullar said the administration had been organising events to spread awareness about the causes and consequences of drug abuse.
“The Health Department is keeping a close watch on the situation at all villages, according to the guidelines of the National AIDS Control Organisation. We have also been providing services under the Integrated Counselling and Treatment Centre at the Payal Civil Hospital,” Bhullar added.
Dr Chahal acknowledged that two of five HIV positive patients from Dhamot Kalan village had been undergoing antiretroviral (ART) treatment and diagnostic tests were being done for people willing to get tested.
All 44 carriers of the virus have been linked with ART Centre, Ludhiana. The owners of private diagnostic laboratories have been asked to submit reports about HIV-positive cases so that confirmatory tests can be done, the SMO added.
Dr Chahal held a meeting with the office-bearers of various social organisations of Dhamot Kalan village on Monday and announced that a camp would be held at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib on Wednesday.
“Besides providing the free facility of all blood tests, ECG and medicines, we will also conduct tests for HIV of willing residents,” he said.
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