Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 27:
About 3300 new AIDS and HIV patients are identified in Odisha every year.
While a total of 13,218 AIDS and HIV patients have been identified in the state in the last four years, more than 1500 have been identified this year.
Official sources said the total number of AIDS and HIV patients has crossed 35,000 by now, but unofficial sources claim the number is over 80,000.
As per the survey by an International NGO, the deadly disease is no more confined among the migrant workers, gays, lesbians and sex workers as has been generally believed.
The survey has also said Odisha is among the five states where there is every possibility of the easy spread of the disease.
While the first HIV patient in Odisha was identified from Nayagarh district in 1993, the number of patients went up to 23,535 within a span of 17 years in 2010-11. The number went up further to 27,000 in 2011-12 and 30,176 in 2012-13.
In terms of the number of AIDS and HIV patients, Odisha presently ranks 14th in the country.
Taking the district-wise prevalence of the disease into consideration, Ganjam has the highest share of 35.3 percent of the total number of patients followed by Cuttack (13.3).
In terms of the number of patients too, Ganjam district has the highest number of patients with 12,511, followed by Cuttack with 4696 patients, Angul (1234), Baleswar (1119), Khodha (1705), Koraput (1927) and Sambalpur (1856).
Boudh district has the least number of patients with only 34.
The survey has said that 90 percent of AIDS and HIV patients in Ganjam district are migrant workers of which 78 percent are in the 25-49 age group and 10 percent are in the 15-24 age group.
Out of a total number of patients in the state, 87 percent (29,372) have been affected due to unsafe sex while 2138 have inherited the disease from their parents.
Besides, use of non-sterilized syringe and homo sexuality are the other reasons for the spread of the disease.
Till date, 1459 patients have died of the disease, sources in the Odisha State AIDS Control Society (OSACS) said.
According to Health and Family Welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, the state government has taken a number of steps for the welfare of the AIDS and HIV patients.
“But due to the fear of being ostracized and hatred by the society, the patients are unwilling to avail these programmes”, he added.