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17 inmates of M’pur prison test HIV positive
Published on 4 Jun. 2011 12:10 AM IST
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At least 17 inmates of Central Sajiwa Jail in Imphal East have tested HIV positive, forcing the authorities concerned and NGOs to step up their campaign to combat the menace. According to Times of India, with hardly 0.2 per cent of India’s population, Manipur contributes nearly 8 per cent of the country’s total HIV cases.
According to the latest epidemiological study of the Manipur State Aids Control Society (Macs), there are 38,016 HIV positive people and 10,109 are women and 2578 children. Besides, 9,985 are undergoing anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
A doctor, who is in-charge of therapy and counseling of jail inmates under the project, said 38 blood samples were collected for testing after carrying out counseling of prisoners. He added that tattooing inside the jail has been banned following detection of the HIV positive cases.
On World AIDS Day (December 1) last year, governor Gurbachan Jagat launched an AIDS intervention programme in Sajiwa jail following which counselling, testing and awareness camps have been introduced.
The project has been taken up as a joint initiative of Macs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNO-DC) and the jail authorities with Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+) as the implementing agency, a source said. He added that about 600 inmates are in the jail.
On Thursday, a joint team of officials, including Macs project director PK Jha, UNODC regional expert Gunasekhar and SP (Jail) Themthing visited Sajiwa jail to scrutinize the progress of the programme. Of the 17 inmates who have tested HIV positive, five are undergoing anti-retroviral therapy at the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital here. The process is on for CD4 count of ten others.
A source said all 17 inmates had unprotected sex prior to their entry to jail.
Key functionaries of MNP+ said proper counselling of the inmates by psychiatrists is the need of the hour as majority of them are suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health-related problems. The functionaries have been carrying out counselling in Sajiwa jail thrice a week.
PK Jha said an ART link would be opened inside the jail shortly and training would be imparted to jail staff and security personnel. On Sunday, a constituency level convention on HIV/AIDS cum health camp was held in the remote Maram Bazaar in Senapati district.

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