GUWAHATI, April 4 � In a novel move to bring into fold the hitherto undetected HIV+ cases, the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) plans to screen all the tea gardens of Assam, which experts believe carry high risk of transmission of the virus.
The idea behind the move is to bridge the gap between the actual detection and the estimated undetected ones in Assam.
Experts are of the opinion that going by the trend, the actual number of undetected cases should be around 5,000 in the State and that tea garden population being a closed group, the risk of transmission of HIV+ virus cannot be ruled out at all.
This is for the first time that tea gardens of Assam, which have remained at the receiving end of almost all kinds of deadly diseases for decades due to low level of health awareness, will come under the purview of any such HIV+ screening mechanism specific to the community.
In Assam, although the actual detection of HIV+ cases touched the 9,000 in the year 2014, it still fell short of the estimated figure of undetected cases (12,800) that was recorded in 2011. Since 2011, no more estimation of HIV positive cases has been done.
�When the next estimation is done, the gap between the estimated and the actual detection will further grow. The idea is to reach out to the undetected cases,� a senior health expert told this reporter.
Dr PN Talukdar, Additional Director, ASACS told The Assam Tribune that implementation of the programme is being planned in a public-private partnership mode in association with Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA) from this month itself. He said in the first phase, 15 tea garden hospitals, especially those located in Upper Assam, will be covered.