Hyderabad: AIDS snuffs out 4278 lives in TS

Hyderabad: AIDS snuffs out 4278 lives in TS

• Telangana and Andhra Pradesh register a high number of HIV deaths in the country • Majority of people get infected because relation with multiple...

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh register a high number of HIV deaths in the country

Majority of people get infected because relation with multiple partners

Hyderabad: Both Telugu speaking States-Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have registered a higher number of HIV deaths when compared to other States in the country this year.

While Andhra Pradesh has registered the second highest HIV deaths (6848), Telangana is at the fourth position (4278).

The overall death figure (until December 2019) in the entire country stands at 43,019. The highest number of deaths in the country took place in Maharashtra where 7,788 HIV-infected patients died in the current year.

According to the data from Union Health Ministry, over 4.78 lakh HIV affected people died in the last 13 years (from 2006-19). However, in cases of death of people living with HIV, the same cannot be directly attributed to AIDS and most deaths occur due to opportunistic infections.

It may be noted that infection with HIV causes progressive deterioration of the immune system leading to immuno deficiency syndrome and making the HIV infected people susceptible to many opportunistic infections like TB, pneumonia and others.

As per the data from the ministry, the figure of HIV deaths in Telangana in 2018 stood at 2,925 and no data of the State was available for before years ( 2014-18).

When contacted Dr G Anna Prasanna Kumari, Additional Project Director, TSACS (Telangana State Aids Control Society) stated that 2018-19 figure was less compared to the current year as the NGO tasked with the job did not do it properly.

" HIV affected persons are put under ART (Anti Retroviral Therapy) under which the government gives free medicines and also pension every month. If the said person does not take medicine continuously for three months, then teams visit the house address given and find out about his or her whereabouts.

In most cases, due to stigma, the person does not write the correct address and teams have to visit multiple times later to know if the person was alive or dead.

The previous NGO failed to do the job as desired because of which the number of deaths in the last year was comparatively lesser. A new NGO has been assigned the job and they now found out that over 4000 deaths occurred so far," the official said.

As regards non-availability of Telangana data prior to 2018, authorities stated that it was because of delay in the bifurcation of APSACS which continued as one until for more than two years after 2014. The data until 2017-18 was for both States combined.

Compared to other states where injectable drugs and blood transfusion were some of the reasons for HIV infections, in the two Telugu speaking States a majority get infected through sexual behaviour with multiple partners.

And understandably, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have reported the highest number of people with sexually-transmitted diseases in the country, according to the National Health Profile of India 2018.

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