GUWAHATI, Dec 1: An estimate of 25,073 people are living with HIV (PLHIV) in Assam, the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) said in a release, quoting the NACO HIV Estimation Report 2021, on the occasion of World AIDS Day on Thursday.
Of the 25,073 PLHIV, 45 per cent are female and three per cent are children. The HIV prevalence rate in Assam is 0.09 per cent, lower than the national prevalence rate of 0.21 per cent, the report said.
The total number of people alive by taking Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is 10,765 in the State.
ASACS observed World AIDS Day on Thursday throughout the State with a series of activities. The theme of the year is EQUALIZE.
The event, held at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) auditorium began with a foot rally which saw the participation from various colleges, educational institutions, NGOs and other stake holders. The foot rally was flagged off by Elvis Ali Hazarika, a swimmer of international repute.
Speaking at the programme, project director, ASACS, Pomi Baruah, said, “The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) is now in its 5th Phase and in this current phase more emphasis is given to HIV prevention and we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that people are aware about HIV and refrain from indulging in high risk behaviour.”
She also stated that at present there are 52 Targeted Intervention NGOs who are working across the State with the high-risk groups.
Addressing the occasion as chief guest, minister for Health and Family Welfare, Keshab Mahanta, while lauding the pivotal role played by ASACS in HIV prevention and treatment, said, “We all need to aware ourselves on HIV prevention and I am happy that ASACS has taken so many initiatives for dissemination of HIV messages amongst various strata of the society.
The minister also centrally launched 10 numbers of OPD-OST (Opioid Substitution Therapy) Dispensing Centres at 10 numbers of district hospitals across Assam. They include, T.R.B Civil Hospital, Kamrup, S.M.K Civil Hospital, Nalbari, Morigaon Civil Hospital, Dhemaji Civil Hospital, LGB Tinsukia Civil Hospital, Sivasagar Civil Hospital, Dhubri Civil Hospital, SK Roy Civil Hospital , Hailakandi, Karimganj Civil Hospital, Goalpara Civil Hospital.
Two books titled ‘Jigyasa…To know about HIV/AIDS’ and ‘A Handbook on Blood Centre Practices in Assam’ were released by the minister.
In the event, many organisations and individuals were awarded for their valuable contribution to the HIV programme.
It is to be mentioned that, Kamrup (Metropolitan) district has the highest number of cases at 7,610, followed by Cachar with 5,200, Nagaon 1,602 and Dibrugarh 1,402.
Regarding the route of transmission in Assam, 81.63 per cent is through sex between heterosexuals, 5.54 per cent is through HIV-infected syringe and needles, parent to child is 4.76 per cent, homosexual route is 4.61 per cent, 0.85 per cent through blood transfusions and 2.61 is not specified, the report said.
A voluntary blood donation camp was also organised at the venue.
In order to create HIV awareness amongst the masses, ASACS has undertaken various activities by disseminating HIV messages in mass media.