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 while the fact is that 6,158 cases have been registered with ART centres in J&K since 1992.
H&ME department said that there are 6,158 HIV positive patients registered with ART centers in J&K since the inception of Jammu and Kashmir AIDS Control Society in 1992.
The prevelance of HIV in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir is lowest in the country with the prevelance of 0.06% as per India HIV Estimates 2021 which is very much below the National prevalence of 0.21%.
The JKACS provides a comprehensive package of Care, support and treatmen to patients.
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 Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). 547 patients have left follow-up.
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 or breast-feeding, 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 National AIDS control Program, patients vare being given proper care, support and treatment and various services at delivery points like ART Centre, ART Plus centres, LAC, LAC Plus, ICTCs .
The main objective of Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre is to provide comprehensive package of Care-support and Treatment services to persons living with HIV/AIDS(PLHIV).
The specific objectives of an ART centre 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 Govt. of J&K is providing a Financial assistance of Rs. 12000/annum to all the PLHIVs of the UT of J&K.
The other objectives of ART are to counsel and educate PLHIV, caregiver, 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 comprehensive package of services including condom and prevention education with a view towards ”Positive Prevention” and ultimately integrating HIV care into general health system for long term sustainability.