Gurugram hospital claims upsurge in HIV positive cases in Haryana

Gurugram, Nov 30 (IANS) Haryana has been seeing an upsurge in HIV positive cases for the last 2 years, with nearly 102 new cases reported across various regions including Gurugram, Hissar, Palwal, Pataudi, Narnaul, and Rohtak, claimed a study by Fortis Memorial Research Institute on Thursday.

The study released ahead of World AIDS Day, observed every year on December 1, revealed that the most affected demographic is the youth, aged 22-43 years, showing a preponderance of 56 per cent males and 40 per cent females, including some children.

In terms of risk factor stratification, high risk sexual behaviour followed by tattoo exposure was seen in the majority of individuals. This surge, following the Covid-19 pandemic, can be linked to increased social interaction, relaxed travel restrictions, and a consequent decrease in healthcare access during the pandemic.

“Our integrated approach to curb AIDS in Haryana includes testing, medical care, nutrition and ancillary support, coupled with caregiver counselling and targeted testing campaigns in high-risk groups. Additionally, we’re emphasising safe sex education, responsible tattoo practices (a majority of youngsters getting multiple tattoos using shared needles) and stringent blood screening and blood products with nucleic acid testing to ensure safe transfusions,” said Dr Neha Rastogi Panda, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, in a statement.

“Equal access to rapid and reliable testing, multi-stakeholder support and initiatives in terms of continued awareness, tracking and testing are quintessential to end the HIV pandemic. This World AIDS Day, we advocate a three B strategy: bridging the gap in testing, providing better care, and best available and affordable treatment are crucial tools to eliminate HIV,” she added.

Dr Panda also emphasised the need for advocacy and awareness on safe sex practices and safe blood transfusion, especially in high risk groups along with the dire need for timely testing, diagnosis and treatment to halt the upsurge and combat the long-term sequelae.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), has been a global health challenge since its first reported case in 1981, in Africa. The virus primarily spreads through blood transfusion, unprotected sex, and infected needles.

–IANS

rvt/uk

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