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Mizoram has highest rate of HIV among pregnant women

By Zodin Sanga

AIZAWL, April 1 - With 1.19 per cent testing positive for HIV among pregnant women whose blood samples have been tested, Mizoram has recorded the highest rate of HIV among pregnant women, according to NACO�s latest findings.

According to Mizoram State Aids Control Society (MSACS) officials, the percentage of HIV prevalence among pregnant women in Mizoram is the highest in India, higher than the national average of 0.28 per cent. They said no other State has crossed one per cent.

Another Northeastern State � Nagaland follows Mizoram with 0.82 per cent.

A source in MSACS said Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh that used to have high prevalence of HIV have witnessed significant decline while the HIV rate is increasing in Mizoram.

Five districts of Mizoram � Aizawl, Champhai, Kolasib, Lunglei and Mamit � also figure in the top 20 �key population districts� or the districts with highest population of high risk groups among the Northeastern States. Of these, Aizawl, Champhai and Kolasib are in the top three, the source added.

The study was conducted during April 2015 to September 2017. During this period, 620 HIV cases were detected in Kolasib in Aizawl district, the highest among the eight districts in Mizoram. The study attributed this to the fact that Aizawl is a key population district which means that it has high number of injecting drug users and commercial sex workers.

The highest number of HIV positives found during this period are aged between 25-35, followed by 35-49 age group and 15-24 age group.

Unprotected sex is the commonest mode of HIV transmission in Mizoram with 64.1 per cent, followed by sharing of syringes with 33.4 per cent.

What has worried HIV activists is that the rate of HIV among injecting drug users has increased during the last three years. The rate of transmission through sexual intercourse is said to be static during this period.

Meanwhile, Mizoram Government has recorded 322 AIDS related deaths between April 1, 2017 and mid- March this year, Health Minister Lal Thanzara has recently informed the Assembly.

In the year 2014-2015, a record number of 569 HIV related deaths was recorded.

Mizoram SACS has started testing blood randomly from 2013, and out of the 3,17,356 blood samples tested, 7,641 were found HIV positive. The first Mizoram case of HIV was discovered or diagnosed in 1990. Sources from Mizoram SACS said that the past two years have seen a mini explosion of the disease which had caused concerns among not only the government but also the NGOs and the churches.

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