AIDS cases on the rise in J&K, time for Govt to take account, action
While the world is worried about handling the Ebola crisis which has become a global crisis but the state of Jammu and Kashmir is still finding it difficult to handle the spread of AIDS which can be stopped simply by spreading more information, and making an effort to make people more and more aware of the HIV menace. As per the latest figures, at least 2 cases of AIDS are being detected daily in the state, and it is because either an adult gets infected due to unprotected inter-course or a child gets the virus from infected parents. In both the cases the medical experts say that the spread of this virus can be stopped provided there is more awareness among the people, and if they take adequate precautions. The increase is alarming, and if corrctive measures are not taken soon then the numbers could rise because lack of detection could lead to this infection in a number of unsuspecting people.
As per the data from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), there are about 15,000 confirmed HIV cases in J&K, and a large number of these are in Kashmir. However, there is a rise of this menace in Jammu where the number has risen since then. A big problem in the state is that a large number of suspected carriers of this infection do not get themselves tested for the fear of getting shunned by family as AIDS infection is still considered to be a taboo in the traditional society. There is also a weak support system for the AIDS patients, and they get little support from government, and other agencies to meet the challenge.
In 2011, J&K witnessed around 6000 AIDS cases, which also included infection caused to small children, whereas around 300 elderly were also infected by the dreaded virus. Sources tell that the number of AIDS cases has doubled in the last two years in the state, and even more alarming is the increase in number of AIDS related deaths. Despite government claims, and actions by State AIDS Control Board the number of HIV infetced persons is rising, and unless radical measures are taken the situation will not come under control.
Activist meanwhile allege that AIDS prevention, and control has never been on the agenda of the state government despite the fact that there is a conflict situation prevailing. The high number of internally displaced persons, and the presence of large number of security men as well as insurgents also puts the state in high risk of spreading AIDS. While huge amounts of money are being spent on awareness across the country but the state government has failed to scale up the programme in J&K. The huge number of migrant labour living in the state is also a high risk group but there are little or no health checks or screening in this target group.