Thiruvananthapuram with 4,772 HIV infected patients registered in the Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres of the Health Department has been identified as the district with the highest prevalence rate of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the State as on October 31.
According to District Medical Officer Gracy Ithaq, Wayanad with 249 AIDS patients undergoing ART is the district with the lowest AIDS prevalence rate. Official records show that the number of patients undergoing ART in Thrissur and Kozhikode districts are 4,027 and 3,789 respectively, while in Pathanamthitta the number is 579.
T. Anithakumari, Deputy DMO, said the screening camp held in different parts of the Pathanamthitta district could diagnose two cases of AIDS among migrant workers.
Dr. Anithakumari said the district had 1,541 sex workers registered under the Suraksha project. She said no HIV positive cases had been identified in the camp held for the 1,541 sex workers and 1,595 men having sex with men in the district.
She said a total of 34 children had been identified as HIV infected in the district. A total of six AIDS patients had succumbed to their ailment in the district between 2009 and 2013, she said.
District Collector Pranab Jyotinath said the Health Department had made elaborate arrangements for observing the World AIDS Day in different parts of the district on Sunday.
Anto Antony, MP, will inaugurate the district-level observation of the World AIDS Day at a function to be held at the municipal bus stand here.
K. Sivadasan Nair, MLA, will preside over the inaugural function and Saji Chacko, district panchayat president, will deliver the keynote address. AIDS awareness rallies would be held in all major towns in the district, Mr Jyotinath said.
Shortage of doctors
Meanwhile, the DMO said there were eight vacancies of assistant surgeons and 13 specialty doctors at various government hospitals in the district and the matter had already been taken up with the Health Minister.
She said the government was exploring the possibility of providing more doctors and paramedical staff at various government health centres in the district, especially in the backdrop of the ongoing Sabarimala pilgrim season.