Balasore: Notwithstanding massive awareness programmes, the scourge of HIV/AIDS is yet to subside in Balasore, with youths accounting for a majority of the infected in the district – the third in terms of HIV infections in the state, a report said.
According to the report, altogether 1,768 people were found positive for HIV in the northern district of the state between 2003 and 2021. Among the HIV infected, 937 are male, 606 female and 103 children while 413 people have died of the deadly virus.
Similarly, 122 pregnant women were also found to be infected with the virus. Sources said, 7, 64, 559 people have undergone counselling during the same period. Of them, 7, 16, 885 have volunteered for HIV testing.
It was found that HIV infection was found in almost all the blocks while HIV infection is high in Sadar, Jaleswar, Soro and Khaira blocks where youths are highly infected, according to the information available from the district health department.
It was learnt that at least five to six people were found HIV positive during the test at the district headquarters hospital every day. Earlier, the HIV testing was affected due to Covid-19 restrictions, but now testing is being conducted regularly.
Blood samples of people are being tested at ICTC while patients are being administered medicines at antiretroviral therapy (ART) centre. Patients from Mayurbhanj are also provided medicines from Balasore ART centre.
It was said that data of the infected people have been maintained for medicine disbursal while scores of other HIV-infected are yet to come out for tests. Fear of being ostracised is dragging their feet, it is learnt.
HIV testing was affected for two years due to the pandemic, but 18 people have tested positive for the virus during the last two months as tests resumed.
Many are of the view that even though the government is pumping in crores of rupees for spreading awareness about prevention of HIV/AIDS, the programme has failed to achieve the desired goal in the coastal district.