DIMAPUR, March 8 � The HIV scenario in Nagaland continues to be alarming. This despite many awareness programmes initiated by the Health department and NGOs to combat the dreaded disease.
According to a report presented by the District AIDS Programme Control Unit (DAPCU), Dimapur, the State has recorded 5,070 new HIV+ cases in the last three years. In 2010-11, 1667 people tested HIV+, while in 2011-12 and 2012-13, the number of HIV+ cases stood at 1,719 and 1,684 respectively.
These facts were revealed yesterday during an advocacy campaign on HIV/AIDS, organised by Christ for the Downtrodden Ministry and supported by the Legislators Forum on AIDS, at Industrial Village Razh�phe here.
Nagaland is listed as one among the highly affected HIV prevalent States in the country along with Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Among the districts, Dimapur alone recorded almost half of the total affected patients.
In 2010-11, the number of HIV+ patients in Dimapur stood at 912 as compared to the rest of the districts which recorded 755 such cases. In 2011-12, the commercial city recorded 822 cases against 897 in other districts. Even in 2012-13, Dimapur with 843+ cases stood above the rest of the districts with 841 such cases.
What could be more threatening with regard to HIV scenario in the State is the increasing rate of deliveries among HIV+ pregnant women.
The number of deliveries of HIV+ women in 2010, 2011 & 2013 stood at 110, 144 and 161 respectively, while the live birth of HIV+ babies was 106, 127 and 145 in the respective years.
The advisable use of condom for protective sex still seems to be an ignored warning among the Nagas as it has been recorded that 89 per cent of HIV transmission (2012-13) was through sexual contact. The transmission from parents to child stood at five per cent and four per cent through infected needles and syringes and two per cent for reasons not specific.
As per the DAPCU report, 74 per cent of HIV patients fall in the age group of 25-49. Between the age group of 15 to 24, it stands at 16 per cent, above 50 years five per cent and below 14 years four per cent.
Out of 10,200 registered number of People Living with HIV/AIDS across the State, there are 3,859 patients who survive on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) while 4,918 have started on ART as of today.
Addressing the programme, ADC Dimapur Dr Kadambari Bhagat stressed the need for a multi-pronged strategy to combat HIV/AIDS. She also suggested mainstreaming of all NGOs in order attract the involvement and participation of more people to fight the disease.
The president of DNP+ pointed out the existence of social stigma and discrimination on HIV patients in the Naga society. He cautioned that if the society continues to discriminate against the HIV+ patients, no one will reveal their identities which he said will hinder the fight against the disease at large.
�HIV is spreading underneath our society because of the social stigma. And if this continues, I fear the number of HIV cases instead of falling will only increase,� the DNP+ president said.