Migrant labours from North Karnataka reason behind increase
Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts lead in the incidence of HIV/AIDS cases in the State, the reason being migration of workers from North Karnataka, said Manoj Kumar Tripathi, Project Director, Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS).
He was speaking during an one-day continuing medical education (CME) on ‘Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS’, here, on Sunday. It was organised by KSAPS and Pathology department and Blood Bank of JSS Medical College.
Earlier, the incidence was the highest in North Karnataka. But, it is gradually shifting to Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts. The workers from North Karnataka migrate to these districts to work in sugarcane fields and other farms. “However, KSAPS is trying to create awareness among them through various programmes. Mobile health units have been deputed in these places to provide medication and counselling,” he added.
Tripathi mentioned that the overall number of patients is coming down in Karnataka. The State has around 2.4 lakh people infected with the virus, but only 1.4 lakh get medication under KSAPS. “The patients, who shy away, prefer private practioneers. They still believe that it’s a stigma in the society,” he said.
Over a period of time, due to continuos awareness programmes, the instances of HIV/AIDS spreading from female sex workers has drastically declined. Studies shows that there is a gradual fall in the past eight years.
“But it’s not the case among transgenders and men sex with men (MSM). They claim that the doctors and the society is not trying to understand their behaviour. So, the initiatives of KSAPS have proved futile,” he stated.
It is a daunting task for officials, when a youth infected with HIV/AIDS is an adolescent and wishes to find his or her partner. Tripathi said, the government is considering it as a sensitive issue and is offering them pyscho-social support, in order to make them understand how to go about it.
Of late, HIV/AIDS is considered as a ‘lifestyle disorder’, just similar to diabetes. An infected person can live up to several years, if only takes timely and regular treatment, he added.