Upsurge in HIV-positive cases worries Dispur
GUWAHATI: The increasing HIV-positive cases among drug addicts in the state worry the Health Department.
The department has proved that drug users sharing syringes and needles while injecting drugs has led to such a situation in the state. It has come to light in tests conducted by the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS).
The AIDS Control Society has been on the trail of sources from where the new HIV-positive cases spread in the state. It tries to trace persons who came in contact with drug-addict HIV-positive people.
Jails have a routine test for HIV called the 'index test'. The sudden rise in HIV-positive cases among jail inmates has come to light in 'index tests'.
The situation is no different in the GMCH (Gauhati Medical College and Hospital) that detected around 163 new HIV-positive cases in the past three months in the state.
Talking to The Sentinel, GMCH Superintendent Dr Abhijeet Sarma said, "Had the war against drugs not been started, HIV would have spread too fast rate in the state. The Kamrup (M) district topped the list of HIV-positive cases in the state. Some of the drug addicts reported various symptoms when they stopped taking drugs. During tests, it has come to light that they are HIV positive."
A source in the Assam State AIDS Control Society said, "Our job is to identify the HIV-positive people through the test. The more we conduct tests, the more the number of detected HIV-positive people will be. In the past three years, we could reduce new HIV-positive cases by 22 per cent in the state. It is the direct outcome of our regular HIV tests.
"Sometimes, such people share one set of syringe and needle while getting drugs injected. This way, HIV spreads from one to many.
"Several drug addict HIV-positive people may not come to our notice. They are a vulnerable group that poses a threat to others. The number of HIV-positive people has gone up among the inmates of Nagaon, Morigaon and Nalbari jails in the state.
"We appeal to the parents to bring their wards for HIV test if they had consumed drugs. We do keep their identities a secret."