Dakshina Kannada shows dip in prevalence of HIV

From being a red zone for HIV infection a few years ago, Dakshina Kannada district has moved towards green zone with positive cases coming down drastically over the years.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, District Aids Control Officer Dr Badruddin said that the number of positive cases have come down by 50% over the years. In spite of this, Dakshina Kannada district stands third in the number of infected patients in the state next to Bagalkot and Bengaluru Urban.

"The number of positive cases have come down drastically by more than half from 2007. A total of 9,671 persons have tested positive in Dakshina Kannada district from January 2007 to October 2017. This includes 386 pregnant women. In 2017 from January till October, 12 pregnant women and 500 others tested positive. This includes 324 men and one transgender as well. From 2006 to October 2017, 1,956 men, 1,638 women, one transgender and 322 below the age of 15 years are undergoing treatment from ART Centres in the district," he said.

Stating that Dakshina Kannada district has two ART centres (one at KMC and another at Wenlock Hospital), Dr Badruddin said that there are 10 Link ART centres and 23 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC).

In association with National AIDS Control Organisation, Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Aids awareness programmes are being organised across the district. As many as 20 Yakshagana performances will be staged at Mangaluru, Puttur, Belthangady, Bantwal and Sullia taluks till December 15 to create awareness on AIDS/HIV.

Further, to create awareness among adolescents, as many as 32 red ribbon clubs have already been started in degree colleges in the district. This year, 32 more degree colleges have been included for starting red ribbon clubs. The red ribbon clubs will create awareness across the district throughout the year. The NACO provides a grant of Rs 4,000 per year for these clubs, he said.

Stating that about 60% of the cases that tested positive in the district are from outside the district and outside the state, he said that migrant population and patients from Kerala are availing treatment in Mangaluru and are responsible for increase in number of AIDS/HIV cases in the district.

An increased awareness about health issues among people, works initiated by ICTC, and outreach programmes of the Aids Control and prevention unit has been responsible for a decline in the prevalence of cases in the district, he said.

In-Charge DHO Dr Rathnakar said that the district administration, zilla panchayat, St Agnes College will organise World Aids Day at St Agnes College hall on December 8 at 10 am. The programme will be inaugurated by ZP oresident Meenakshi Shanthigodu.

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