With effective intervention of government hospitals and good support and coordination from the NGOs and Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres, the rate of spreading of HIV among people had come down to 0.025 per cent from 1.36 per cent, said T. Jayabal, Joint Director of Health Services.

He was addressing an AIDS awareness seminar meant for HIV affected persons, nurses and volunteers held here on Wednesday.

Approximately four million people have been living with HIV in the world including in African countries, top in the world in having highest number of HIV patients. India's position was number two in this list but it was number one in controlling the disease.

Dindigul district alone had over 8,000 persons living with HIV. Only 3,411 patients had registered with Anti-Retroviral Therapy Centre of which 1,678 patients got regular treatment. Besides, 89 children too were also treated at the ART centre, Dr. Jayabal pointed out. The Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society had offered Rs.1.38 lakh to meet their educational needs, he added.

He appealed to all persons living with HIV to register their names with the ART centre and avail its care and support services. The non-governmental organisations, volunteers and village health nurses should strive hard to include those who had not registered their names with the ART centre.

Early detection of HIV, prompt diagnosis and treatment would certainly ensure reduction of morbidity and mortality of the infected and quality of life of the affected could also be improved. Effective management of the disease would also help delay the progression of the disease. The ART centre in Dindigul GH had all facilities and equipments required to test the patients. Patients need not go to Madurai for diagnosis and tests. The GH had even a legal cell for AIDS patients to protect their rights, he added.

In his special address, Tamil Nadu Health System Project Coordinator A. Asai Thambi said that persons aged below 50 years alone were mostly affected by AIDS. Weakening the youth population will have a direct impact on the economic development and growth of the nation, he added.

Speakers stated that HIV cases were on the rise in Oddanchatram, Nilakottai and Batlagundu. Later, Dr. Jayabal gave away prizes to winners of various competitions.