HIV prevalence drops to 0.75 per cent in Namakkal

It has gone down from 2.007 per cent in two years

Namakkal district, which once found a place in the country's map with high prevalence of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), has witnessed a drop in prevalence to just 0.75 in the year 2010.

Thanks to the efforts of the government, district administration, Non Government Organisations (NGOs), Red Ribbon Clubs and various associations which paved the way for the reduced prevalence of HIV.

District Programme Manager of District AIDS Prevention and Control Unit (DAPUC) L. Arunachalam who made this statement to The Hindu pointed out at statistics that this is identical with the general prevalence of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the district. It has gone down from 2.007 per cent in the year 2008 to just about 0.75 per cent in the year 2010, he added.

Since 2005 to July 31, 2011, a total 12,533 persons – 6,317 men, 5,665 women, 334 boys, 206 girls and 11 transgenders –have been identified with HIV. So far 1,215 of them have died – 813 men, 387 women, 10 boys, 4 girls and 1 transgender, the DPM added.

The 11,318 persons who are living with HIV have been categorised into two groups based on the severity of the infection, Dr. Arunachalam said. Of them, 5,762 have been identified as persons with higher severity and have been recommended to undergo Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART), he said.

Noting that ART has been instrumental in increasing the longevity of the affected persons, the DPM noted that only about 10 per cent of persons undergoing ART have died. According to statistics maintained by the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) centres in the district 4,258 of them have been regularly undergoing ART till last month.

Nearly 6,000 persons who don't have high severity of infection have been categorised as those who don't require immediate treatment, he said. They are however monitored once in six months at the ICTC, Dr. Arunachalam added.

Prevalence of HIV among sex workers has also been controlled considerably, he said. Statistics available till the year 2008 shows that transmission of HIV from Mother To Child (MTC) has also gone down from 4.5 per cent (among 400 mothers) in the year 2002 to just 0.75 per cent in the year 2008 (among the 800 mothers). MTC transmission is about 30 per cent and steps are on to bring it below 5 per cent, he concluded.

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