Year 2011 ended on a worrying note for policy makers as it witnessed a sizeable increase in the average number of ‘new HIV positive cases' getting reported every month from Tirupur district vis-à-vis 2010.

While the average number of ‘new HIV positive cases' that got detected in a month stood at around 30 in 2010, it was 40.5 in 2011.

Official sources told The Hindu that as many as 486 new HIV positive cases got detected at the 21 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) functioning in the district last year.

Of these new cases, 265 were men, 207 women, 10 boys (under 15 years) and four girls (under 15 years).

Minors got HIV infection from their parents, Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centre sources here said.

Statistics

The statistics compiled by the Department of Health also point out that 53 persons died of AIDS (Acquired Immuno- Deficiency Syndrome) in the district in 2011.

“Majority of the AIDS deaths occurred after the HIV-infected people developed tuberculosis as co-infection,” S. Arivalagan, district supervisor of Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society (TANSACS), told this paper.

He pointed out that even a case of death got reported in the district last year due to cancer developed on a HIV infected person.

According to health officials, the number of deaths, as well as the number of new HIV positive cases getting reported officially, are only the tip of the iceberg as infected people remain undetected if they have not come forward to undergo tests.

As on January 1, as many as 1,743 HIV infected persons from the district have been registered with the ART centre situated here.

Of them, about 60 percent are undergoing ART treatment to boost their immunity levels while the remaining are still in the pre-ART stage (ie. CD4 count is more than 350).

Considering the increase that has taken place in the registration of ‘new HIV positive cases', TANSACS and other stakeholders are planning to intensify awareness campaigns in order to educate people on safer sex practices.

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