LAKHIMPUR: Amid the worldwide combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, December 1 will be observed as World AIDS Day. The event is marked as the first-ever international day for global health. The event is observed to create awareness and to show support for people living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and the ones who have lost their lives because of AIDS. The theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is 'End inequalities. End AIDS.' With a special focus on reaching people left behind, WHO and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.
In Lakhimpur district, a total of 149 HIV patients, including 15 pregnant women, have been detected since 2002 as per information found from Dr. Jagadish Goswami, the District AIDS Control Officer. Out of them, 68 patients already migrated to their native places of their own States after detection. At present, the district has registered a total of 81 ART clients. Of them, 44 are male, 31 are female and 6 are children.
"We have got 81 HIV positive patients. Out of them 6 are Lost to Follow Up (LFU ) and 9 already expired. So, we have 66 number of cases taking regular treatment. In addition to them, 3 more HIV patients were detected in District Jail by Targeted Intervention NGO on October 25 after screening of 107 inmates", Dr. Goswami added. According to him, a total of 306 female sex workers have been identified in the district, but none of them is found to be infected with HIV as per screening report.
As of State scenario, Assam is categorized as a low HIV Prevalence State with an estimated adult HIV Prevalence of 0.06% which is lower than the National Prevalence of 0.26%. However, Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) detected a total of 20,085 positive patients HIV in the State till June 2021 since 2002. The Kamrup (M) district has the highest number of 6,888, followed by 4609 in Cachar and 1245 in Dibrugarh. As per report, an increase in the HIV cases has been reported in districts like Morigaon, Nagaon and Nalbari due to index testing of the High-Risk Group (HRG).
AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome) is a chronic disease that is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The immune system of the person who is suffering from the disease gets damaged and also reduces the disease fighting ability of the body.
While asked about the medical treatment provided to HIV patients, Dr Jagadish Goswami said, "The treatment for HIV is called Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines called an HIV treatment regimen every day. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV. People with HIV should start taking HIV medicines as soon as possible. ART cannot cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. ART also reduces the risk of HIV transmission."
He further added that adherence to ART regimen is very vital in the treatment. "Any irregularity in following the prescribed regimen can lead to resistance to HIV drugs, and therefore can weaken or negate its effect. ART is available free of cost to all those who need it," he asserted.