Tuesday, July 5, 2022

State ranks 2nd in HIV prevalence among adult population


With prevalence rate of 1.44% among adult population, Nagaland has been ranked second in the country in HIV prevalence among adult population in HIV sentinel surveillance (HSS), 2020.
Revealing this, Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) project director Dr Akuo Sorhie said about 29,928 HIV positive cases had been detected in the State as per records and 10,617 patients were still alive.
She was speaking at a programme held at the Conclave Hall, LCS building here on Sunday to mark the 39th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on the theme “We remember, We take action, We live beyond HIV”.
Under the National AIDS Control Programme, Sorhie claimed various information, education and communication (IEC) activities were being carried out in the State, while HIV-related facilities were provided along with HIV ombudsman under the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 where infected people could lodge their complaints and grievances regarding discrimination and violation of their rights.
She said the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held in memory of the lost souls and honour those people who had dedicated their lives in helping people with HIV and remember their contribution in breaking down barriers of social discrimination and stigma, giving hope to many.
Speaking on the occasion, Network of Naga People Living with HIV/AIDS (NNP+) president Lanu Aier regretted that though national-level programme had been running since April 2004, many HIV positive people could not get access to treatment due fear of social stigma and discrimination (S&D), leading to loss of many lives.
On behalf of the people living with HIV (PLHIV), he appealed to the State government, especially the departments concerned and partners, to see that supply of drugs and equipment for clinical tests was not interrupted, besides ensuring social security of PLHIV community.
Further, he urged the State government to address HIV/AIDS by focusing on creation of public awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment to reduce the mortality rate in Nagaland.
Aier, who has been living with HIV for the past 25 years also encouraged PLHIV to get the antiretroviral therapy (ART).
In his speech, ARK Foundation president Ketho Angami stressed on working together, though there were issues, gaps and challenges vis-à-vis HIV/AIDS in the State.
He regretted that though there were many medicines and treatments available, a few companies had monopolised the global market for profit, leading to great hardships for PLHIV.
In her message, Kohima Press Club president Alice Yhoshü said it was disheartening to note that while HIV/AIDS was considered a major health issue, many PLHIV continued to face hurdles in accessing treatment, besides facing social discrimination.
Lighting of candle was carried out by Natsali, who also presented a special number along with Likovi.
Solidarity messages were shared by Khedi Baptist Church pastor Dr Ruokuovilie Sachü and a representative from Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA)
Apart from remembering those who had lost their lives, International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day is also observed to ensure better access to treatment and preventive services by lighting candles and observing a minute of silence.


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