35% HIV patients in UP unaware of their health status

Nearly 35 per cent of HIV positive people living in Uttar Pradesh are unaware of their health status.

Since they are mostly asymptomatic, they do not get tested and as a result carry the virus and transmit it to others.

This data is, according to a fact sheet, issued by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare during a discussion on ‘India HIV estimates 2021 fact sheet’.

NACO periodically undertakes the HIV estimation process to provide the updated information on the status of HIV epidemic in India. It uses the internationally accepted UNAIDS recommended ‘Spectrum’ tool for estimation by analysis of existing data to prepare fact sheets.

Latest sheet was released in August this year.

Officials of Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS) said the fact sheet estimates 1.78 lakh people were living with HIV in the state, but only 1.22 lakhs know that they have this viral infection while others are unaware.

They said as per the fact sheet, in 2018, only 58 per cent of the 1.65 lakh HIV persons knew about their status. This figure improved to 61 per cent of 1.69 lakhs in 2019 and further went to 63 per cent of 1.73 lakhs in 2020 and 65 per cent of 1.78 lakhs in 2021.

Dr Ramesh Srivastava, joint director UPSACS, said, “With deep penetration in the rural areas and screening all pregnant women, blood donors and other patients, we are able to identify more HIV patients who are unaware of the status. However, the road ahead is very long.”

He also highlighted that they have been able to register nearly 85 per cent (1.05 lakh) of the HIV cases under antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 52 centres.

“We are increasing the number of targeted intervention NGOs which go to vulnerable points such as massage parlours, drug addicts and migrant labourers to check new infections and register those who are not under ART,” said the official.

He further said of 1.05 lakh in ART, 85 per cent are virally suppressed meaning they cannot transfer infection to others.

Additional director UPSACS Heera Lal said, “Other than identifying the existing cases, our purpose is to prevent transmission by spreading awareness about HIV and precautions to keep it at bay.”

20221202-130602

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