Special Correspondent

Prophylactic usage among sex workers improves

  • Prevalence of HIV remains between 1.5 and 2 per cent
  • 32,000 women are HIV+ out of 16 lakh deliveries performed every year

    HYDERABAD: A review of the HIV/AIDS scenario in the State on the eve of the launch of the National AIDS Control Programme III (2007-2012) has brought some cheer to officials and NGOs.

    Condom usage among sex workers in the State has gone up dramatically from a poor 25 per cent to 80 per cent during the last one year. This is the result of organising them into groups and opening STD clinics near "hot spots", the places where sex workers carry out their business. More importantly, the prevalence of HIV remains between 1.5 and 2 per cent without registering any rise.

    A target fixed in the upcoming phase to achieve the goal of a definite reversal of HIV/AIDS epidemic in the State, one of the six high prevalent States, is quite significant. Labelled as the "0/7" campaign, it seeks to have zero HIV + child to be born from 2007, G. Asok Kumar, Project Director, Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, said at an interaction session with journalists on Friday.

    All pregnant HIV+ women would be tracked down, taken to institutions for caesarean operations that cut down the risk of transmission, administered nevarapine and the babies would be taken care of for 24 months. Sixteen lakh deliveries were performed in the State every year out of which 32,000 women were HIV+.

    Initiatives

    Among the initiatives launched ahead of the next phase is the requirement that prospective truck drivers must answer five questions to test their basic knowledge about how HIV/AIDS is contracted and spread while applying for a heavy vehicle driving licence.

    As truckers have been identified as among the ten causative factors for fuelling HIV in the State, the timings of STD clinics alongside national highway are being changed to suit the drivers and not the other way round.

    A study showed that the incidence of HIV among law enforcers in a particular district of the State to be on a par with the State's average. Out of 2,000 policemen tested, 40 were found to be HIV positive and, quite likely, infecting others.