Despite a huge public awareness campaign on prevention of HIV-AIDS, the number of HIV positive cases is on the rise in Madurai district.
The number seems to be rising every month as per the data available with the district authorities. In January this year, there were 86 HIV positive cases reported from the district. This number went up to 108 in February while the March data showed that 111 persons tested positive for HIV. “Though, we are spending a lot of money on awareness programmesit is a matter of concern that more persons are infected with HIV,” M. Kalirajan, District Programme Manager for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, told The Hindu on Friday.
The ‘positive' group includes men, women and children too and most of the HIV affected persons are in the age group of 24 to 34 years. Several HIV positive cases are being reported from rural pockets in Melur, Tirumangalam and Alanganallur areas.
Mr. Kalirajan says that the actual number of confirmed ‘positive' cases will be more than what is being reported now since private hospitals where the HIV screening tests are done are not properly reporting it to the district authorities.
“We have made a request to the Collector to intervene and instruct the private hospitals to inform about fresh HIV cases on a monthly basis so that appropriate follow up can be done. He may convene a meeting in this regard very soon,” he said.
Every year, nearly 1,400 HIV positive cases are added in Madurai district and the authorities are coordinating the treatment, Anti-Retroviral Therapy and nutrition aspects. “Our data is based only on reported cases of HIV, but, our fear is that there will be many more cases in Madurai district which will be known only if the tests are done on suspected cases,” Mr. Kalirajan said.
There are 55 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres in government hospitals and Primary Health Centres in the district. Truck drivers, migrant workers and drug addicts are among the high-risk groups.
It may be noted that the Red Ribbon Express, which creates public awareness on HIV-AIDS prevention will visit various southern districts, starting from May 12.