Resurgence of HIV/AIDS adds to northeast’s growing burden of disease

Guwahati, Dec 31 (IANS) Even though just four per cent of the nation’s population lives in the eight states that make up the northeastern region, most of these states top the chart in the country for a number of ailments, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other vector-borne illnesses.

Despite significant advancements in the fight against AIDS, a recent report raises concerns about its increase in the northeast.

According to a survey, the northeastern states have the highest adult HIV prevalence, which is at 2.70 per cent in Mizoram, 1.36 per cent in Nagaland, and 1.05 per cent in Manipur, while the southern states have the lowest rates, at 0.67 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 0.47 per cent in Telangana, and 0.46 per cent in Karnataka.

Given that Meghalaya has a higher rate of HIV infections than the national average, all 60 of the state’s MLAs have made the extraordinary decision to actively fight the illness by increasing public awareness.

Recently Shillong hosted the inaugural meeting of the newly-formed Meghalaya Legislators’ Forum on HIV/AIDS.

Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Thomas A Sangma presented six specific plans related to ‘People Living with HIV (PLHIV).’

The suggested strategy calls for the provision of healthcare access, social assistance, employment and skill-development opportunities, education and awareness campaigns, nutritional support, and legal help in order to combat the disease.

Legislators from all parties would bring attention to social, economic, and stigma issues in addition to healthcare concerns for persons living with HIV/AIDS during the campaign against the disease.

These legislators might help those living with HIV/AIDS become more integrated into society.

According to Sangma, every one of the state’s 60 lawmakers, from both the government and Opposition parties, has committed to supporting PLHIV with funds from their programs or discretionary grants.

Conrad K Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, declared that the government will be putting all of its resources into stopping the disease’s spread throughout the hill state.

Legislators can help to combat societal stigma by increasing knowledge through the Meghalaya Legislator’s Forum on HIV/AIDS, according to state Opposition leader Ronnie V Lyngdoh. He emphasised that lawmakers may support the cause in social as well as financial ways.

Although alcohol has been outlawed for a long time in Manipur and Mizoram, which is mostly a Christian state, many people die each year from severe drug usage.

In Mizoram, drug usage claimed the lives of at least 68 individuals, including 11 women, up to November this year. The extent of the drug problem can be gauged by the fact that out of the 28 lakh people living in Manipur, 1.4 lakh young people have been impacted by narcotics.

Mizoram and Manipur, which have an unfenced border with Myanmar spanning 510 km and 400 km, respectively, have also developed into hubs for the massive smuggling of illegal substances into India from the neighbouring nation.

With 45.58 million inhabitants (2011 census), the northeast region is home to many large and medium-sized companies. However, with the exception of Assam most of the states lack industries and that in turn contributes to rising unemployment and drug addiction.

An official from the State’s Excise and Narcotics Department stated that there were 43 drug-related deaths in Mizoram last year and 47 in 2021. She also added that the number of fatalities which is 68 till now may rise by the end of 2023.

In Mizoram, a vital conduit for the smuggling of various drugs and other contrabands from Myanmar, the first drug-related fatality was documented in 1984. In the last 39 years, drug misuse has claimed the lives of 1,804 people, including 218 women (since 1984).

The Excise and Narcotics Department, among other law enforcement organisations, recovered 76.22 kg of heroin between January and October this year and 33.4 kg of heroin was seized in total last year.

The primary route for the smuggling of narcotics and other contraband from Myanmar is through the Champhai area of Mizoram. In addition to several illegal substances, gold, cigarettes from abroad, weapons and ammunition, exotic animals, and areca nuts are frequently trafficked into the northeastern states from Myanmar.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.