The area is predominantly inhabited by tribal population
HIV prevalence rate is on the rise in the Bhadrachalam division compared with the rest of the divisions in the district.
According to official sources, the prevalence rate in the division is 6 per cent. Although the rate in the district has come down from 4 per cent in 2010 to 3.7 per cent up to October this year, the infection rate is on the higher side in the Bhadrachalam division, predominantly inhabited by the tribal population, sources say.
Sources further say the killer disease is spreading its tentacles in the division due to factors such as low level of awareness about the transmission and prevention of HIV virus among the tribal people, particularly migrant labourers living in the far-flung areas.
The government agencies concerned have already introduced a mobile Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCTC) in Bhadrachalam Agency to enable the tribal people living in the remote pockets adjoining Chhattisgarh to avail themselves of the HIV diagnostic services.
Link ART centres
Link Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centres have been established at Aswaraopet and Kothagudem, in addition to the existing ART centres at the government area hospital in Bhadrachalam and the district headquarters hospital in Khammam.
The authorities concerned have decided to set up two more link ART centres, one in Yellendu and another in Madhira.
“We have been using the services of the mobile VCTC in the Agency area to help the tribal people know their HIV status and access the institutionalised services, if any, needed,” said Additional DMH O (AIDS & Leprosy) D. Sudhakar Patnaik.
All ANMs had been trained and equipped with the ‘Whole Blood Finger-Prick' kits to conduct the HIV tests in the Agency areas, he said.
He said Kala Jathas (traditional cultural programmes) were being conducted in collaboration with the ITDA and other agencies in the whole division with a thrust on Bhadrachalam, the major pilgrim centre, to create awareness on the preventive steps to check HIV/AIDS.