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HIV/AIDS epidemic growing rapidly in Northeastern states

The trend of Intravenous Drug Users (IDU) is rising at a rocket speed in the Northeastern states. Most users are between 15 to 20 years of age.

HIV/AIDS epidemic growing rapidly in Northeastern states

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Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2 Dec 2020 3:25 PM GMT

Aizawl: The status of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in North-Eastern states of India is indeed alarming.

As per reports by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the AIDS-related mortality per 1,00,000 population in India was estimated to be the highest in Manipur (36.86), followed by Mizoram (28.34), Nagaland (26.20), Andhra Pradesh (21.76), Puducherry (15.33), Meghalaya (11.08), and Telangana (10.79).

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's Joint Secretary, Alok Saxena, in his observation, incorporating with the recent observation made by NACO, the evidence has emerged globally that HIV-infected people are more at COVID-19 death risk as compared to HIV-negative patients.

"The challenges for the National AIDS Control Programme have multiplied with the COVID-19 pandemic," Saxena added.

Another disturbing development is the ongoing trend of Intravenous Drug Users (IDU), which is rising at rocket speed among the youth between 15 and 20 years in several north-eastern states, especially in Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.

According to the Excise and Narcotics Department, officials from Mizoram, nearly 1,645 people have died due to drug abuse in the state since 1984 when the first case was reported by police.

"The IDU or the HIV/AIDS prevalence are now a major public health problem instead of a simple health issue," said Phanindra Kumar Majumdar AIDS Control Society's Project Director of Tripura state.

The Tripura state AIDS control body is keeping a check of the rising trend and are actively working with 11 departments of Tripura government, including Education, Social Education and Welfare, Sports and Police.

The most common reason for the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS is the sharing of the same syringe by injecting drug users. It is one of the key reason for Mizoram becoming the leading state with prevalent HIV/AIDS in India, with an average of five to six HIV positive cases a day.

Besides, Mizoram with 2.04%, in two other North-Eastern states Manipur and Nagaland, the HIV prevalence rates are 1.43% and 1.15% per million people, respectively.

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