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Hundreds dying of AIDS in NE
GUWAHATI, APR 13 (AGENCIES/PTI)
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Published on 14 Apr. 2010 12:43 AM IST
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A large number of people in India’s northeast living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are struggling for survival. Hundreds are dying with no access to treatment.
A large number of people in India’s northeast living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are struggling for survival. Hundreds are dying with no access to treatment. “People are dying regularly and suffering a lot, unable to access Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) because such medicines are very expensive,” said Dipak Singh, president of the Manipur Network of Positive People (MNPP).
Two MNPP members died earlier this week allegedly due to lack of medication, reported Sinlung on its portal Tuesday. “Hundreds have died with no access to treatment,” Singh said. Although it is not a cure, ART is a combination of medicines that helps a person living with HIV to fight off infections and live a longer life.
Besides, ART also significantly impacts transmission by reducing the viral load concentration and minimizing risk of transmission to their sexual partners. A person living with HIV requires drugs worth about Rs.1,200-1,600 a month and the cost doubles if someone has to go for second line therapies depending on the nature of their immune system.
India accounts for about 5.2 million HIV-positive people, second only to South Africa. The northeast has been declared as one of the country’s high-risk zones with close to 100,000 people infected with the virus. The NACO, India’s apex government agency to combat HIV/AIDS, admitted in a recent report that non-availability of adequate ART in the northeast was a matter of concern.
Meanwhile, the Sikkim State AIDS Control Society (SSACS) on Monday said that the number of HIV/AIDS cases may be more that the official figure of about 175 cases known to the nodal agency. “There may be about 1,700 AIDS/HIV patients in Sikkim who are hiding their disease by remaining underground or may be ignorant of the disease,” the SSACS Deputy Director D S Kerongi said at an interaction with various tourism stakeholders.
The figure has been calculated on the basis of the survey being conducted from time to time by the SSAC team by identification of vulnerable people, he said. Sikkim has a total of 175 cases of AIDS/HIV, comprising 114 men and 61 women undergoing medical treatment.

 
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