On the wane, but no room for complacency

Karnataka occupies the fifth position with a prevalence rate of 0.63 per cent, with an estimated 2.5 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS. The prevalence rate among the general population reduced from 1.5 per cent in 2004 to 0.70 per cent in 2010 and now stands at 0.63 per cent.

From 2002 to October, 2011, 61.9 lakh people tested positive for the HIV virus. The tests are done at the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) in rural/semi urban areas and Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres (VCTCs) at the district hospitals. A total of 65,053 people, including 4,343 children, are presently on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).  

According to sources in the Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) and the District AIDS Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU), Gulbarga, relentless and sustained efforts for the last five years in the prevention of the spread of the infection have yielded desired results.

The steps initiated by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the State Health and Family Welfare Department include massive awareness and education campaigns, opening HIV testing facilities at the 24x7 Primary Health Centres, almost compulsory testing of pregnant women, their spouses and children and the readily available ART in all the districts.

The sources maintained that screening of men for HIV still remained a problem as they could not be made to undergo compulsory blood test like in the case of pregnant women. When pregnant women test positive, all efforts are made to test their husbands, but the success rate is only about 40 pc. Over 95 per cent of those husbands tested have been found to be HIV positive.

Another important reason for the arrest of the scourge is the readily available ART treatment in the districts.  The treatment has prolonged the lives of the affected by strengthening their immune system.  In Gulbarga district, there are two ART centres - one at the District Hospital in Gulbarga and the other at Wadi in Chittapur taluk run on public private participation model.

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