Mizoram, one of the least populated States in India, reports nine positive cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) a day.
The virus “strike rate” has made Mizoram top the list of States with an HIV prevalence rate of 2.04% followed by two other north-eastern States — next-door neighbour Manipur with 1.43% and Nagaland with 1.15%.
Data compiled by the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) show that 67.21% of the positive cases from 2006 to March 2019 have been transmitted sexually, 1.03% of the transmission route being homosexual.
The next major cause, accounting for 28.12% cases, is infected needles shared by intravenous drug users.
The Christian-majority State bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar has battled drug trafficking and abuse for a long time.
Narcotic substances such as methamphetamine and heroin are smuggled in from Myanmar.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said the State could do without the dubious record of being the highest HIV-prevalent State in the country.
“The present scenario is indeed alarming. We have to increase the level of awareness about the virus and focus on the treatment and prevention of the disease,” he said, while launching an HIV/AIDS sensitisation campaign in Aizawl on October 11.
Dr. Lalthlengliani, the MCACS project director said that an average of 9.2 cases are detected across Mizoram’s 44 standalone Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres on each of the 25 days a month they remain open.
The prevalence rate had dipped to 3.8 during 2012-13 from a high of 4.8 during the previous fiscal.
It kept rising sharply since to become 7.5 during 2017-18 and touch 9.2 during the last fiscal ending March 2019.
“Analysis of the HIV positive cases confirmed at the testing centres show that people in the age group of 25-34 years are the most vulnerable in Mizoram followed by those in the age brackets of 35-49 years and 15-24 years,” Dr. Lalthlengliani said.
The HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in these three age groups are 42.38%, 26.46% and 23.03% respectively.