Punjab witnesses steady decline in HIV+ cases

The prevalence of HIV infection has come down from 2.96% in 2008 to 0.66% in 2017

Updated: Sep 11, 2018 22:49:46

By Sunil Rahar

Representative Image. (SHUTTERSTOCK)

Punjab has witnessed a decline in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive cases over the past nine years. HIV is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, if not treated. HIV attacks the body’s immune system.

In 2017, the positivity rate was recorded at 0.66% with 6,730 cases of the total 10.12 lakh people tested, while it was 2.96% in 2008 as 4,954 people tested positive out of 1.67 lakh tested (see box).

“Due to awareness, the HIV positive percentage has witnessed a steep fall since 2008 till July 2018,” said BP Nivasan, project director, Punjab AIDS Control Society.

Punjab has recorded 66,590 HIV positive cases since 1993 when the Punjab State AIDS Control Society was set up. In 2009, at least 5,351 HIV cases were reported with 2.34% positivity rate, 1.96 % in 2010 with 5,433 cases; 1.55% in 2011 with 5,387 cases, 1.13% in 2012 with 4,863 cases and 0.90% in 2013 with 4,537 cases, according to the AIDS control society data.

A total of 5,385 cases were detected with 0.89% positivity rate in 2014, 5,543 cases in 2015 with 0.84% positivity rate and 5,987 in 2016 with 0.69% rate. Nivasan said unsafe sex and use of infected syringes led to the spread of the virus. Patiala district AIDS control officer Gurpreet Singh Nagra said that from 2012, it has been made mandatory for all pregnant women to undergo HIV test.

“More people have started using contraceptives. The blood bank system has also been streamlined over the years so infected blood is not transmitted,” he said.   

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 10:21:28


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