Dmu has highest prevalence of HIV in state

Dmu has highest prevalence of HIV in state
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, AUG 29 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/29/2018 11:43:08 AM IST

Out of the 11 districts in Nagaland, Dimapur, Tuensang and Kohima have the highest prevalence of HIV with 5.15%, 2.53% and 2.52% respectively, as per data available from April 2006 to May 2018. This was stated by Legislators’ Forum on AIDS (LFA) state consultant Dr. Vinito L Chishi while addressing students and faculty at HIV&AIDS advocacy programme held at Withee Bible College, Darogajan on Wednesday.

The programme was organised by faculty and students of Withee Bible College.

Chishi said out of the 1 88,166 people screened for HIV in Dimapur between April 2006 and May 2018, 9,694 tested positive. And out of the 10,46,767 blood samples tested in Nagaland till May this year, 23,491 tested positive for HIV, he added. Quoting the data extensively, the LFA state consultant also laid bare some very disturbing statistics.

For instance, 73% of those infected with HIV in Nagaland are between 25 to 49 years. Further, 90% of the transmission of the dreaded disease is via sexual intercourse, followed by mother to child transmission (6%).

Chishi said 17,301 HIV patients had registered for antiretroviral therapy (ART) since 2004, but only 11,753 of them started the therapy. Further, 1,561 of them died while on ART treatment and 7,436 (including children) are currently on ART provided by the government. 

The only silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud is decrease in the rate of prevalence of HIV from 0.82% in 2014 to 0.76% in 2018.

Chishi emphasised on the role of the church, theological institutes and Christian leaders in preventing the spread of deadly virus by sensitising people. He said there was a need to approach the church as a platform to “inform, educate and discipline” the people. 

Stressing the “crucial role” of church as it was at the core of the community, he pointed out that the church was a permanent institution, unlike governments that changed every five years, and therefore assumed a greater role.

At a later session, LFA administrator Hukatoli spoke on the risks and social concerns associated with HIV&AIDS. She lamented that judgmental nature of people in general had made it difficult for HIV patients to find solace and confide in the church. And as those infected with HIV isolated themselves, she urged the church to come up with a more humane approach. 

Hukatoli explained that HIV did not discriminate class or social status and that anyone could be affected. She said high prevalence of HIV also indicated that a society was not highly educated and had no moral bindings due to failure of religious institutions, poor law and order situation and poverty.

The programme was chaired by Withee Bible College principal Dr Vikheshe Chishi, who called upon the students to test blood of their partners before getting married in order to be “safe than sorry”.  

Altogether 69 students and faculty of the college attended the event.

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