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H&ME refutes news about 6,158 AIDS cases reported this year in J&K

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Says 6,158 positive patients registered with ART since inception of JKACS

Srinagar: Health and Medical Education Department has rebutted the news carried by some sections of media that 6,158 cases of HIV positive have been reported in J&K this year.

The H&ME department said that there are 6,158 HIV-positive patients registered with ART centers in J&K since the inception of the Jammu and Kashmir AIDS Control Society in 1992.

The prevalence of HIV in Jammu and Kashmir is the lowest in the country with a prevalence of 0.06 percent as per India HIV Estimates 2021 which is very much below the national prevalence of 0.21 percent.

The JKACS provides a comprehensive package of care, support, and treatment to patients, the department said.

It said since the inception of JKACS 6,158 HIV-positive patients have been registered with ART facilities established in GMC Jammu, SKIMS Soura, and GMC Kathua.

Till date 1,400 HIV-positive patients have died, while 3,478 patients are alive on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART); 547 patients have left follow-up, it said.

The stigma and discrimination associated with the disease is a great hindrance because of which people are not coming forward for HIV testing.

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and multi-person usage of needles. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS. A person suffering from AIDS is “unfortunately” often regarded as a stigma in society and such people become victims of ostracism, rejection, and discrimination.

“Drug addicts are at a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and if they are sexually active, they transmit this to their partners as well.

Under the National AIDS Control Program, patients are being given proper care, support, and treatment and various services at delivery points like ART Centre, ART Plus centers, LAC, LAC Plus, ICTCs.

The main objective of the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Centre is to provide a comprehensive package of Care-support and Treatment services to persons living with HIV/AIDS(PLHIV).

The specific objectives of an ART center are to register and provide Care, Support, and Treatment services to all PLHIV and monitor patients in HIV care (Pre-ART) regularly, identify eligible PLHIV requiring ART and initiate them or ART in a timely manner as per the NACO guidelines, provide ARV & OI drugs to eligible PLHIVs and provide treatment adherence and counseling services before and during treatment to ensure high levels of drugs adherence.

The Government of J&K is providing financial assistance of Rs 12000 per annum to all the PLHIVs of the UT of J&K.

The other objectives of ART are to counsel and educate PLHIV, caregivers, guardians, and family members on nutritional requirements, hygiene, positive living and also on measures to prevent further transmission of infection, refer patients requiring specialized services (including admission) to other departments/higher facilities/CoE, provide a comprehensive package of services including condom and prevention education with a view towards ”Positive Prevention” and ultimately integrating HIV care into the general health system for long term sustainability.

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