While presenting the HIV Sentinel Surveillance data in Rajya Sabha, the Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss named four districts of Orissa: Bolangir, Bhadrak, Ganjam and Anugul under category ‘A’ with high prevalence of HIV infected population.
As per the category ‘A’, districts having HIV occurrence in more than one percent among Antenatal women of general population and hence it indicates the vulnerability among women and any further increase in prevalence rate would rise the number of adults living with HIV/AIDS.
The minister too pointed out some probable reasons for spread of HIV virus in those districts citing as large scale migration as these are the centre of Industrial development and hub of highway network. Due to unemployment, people from coastal districts like Ganjam and Bhadrak migrate to others parts of the country like Surat & Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat and Mumbai in Maharastra where HIV cases are more.
Transport carrier drivers termed as high-risk group as it increases the susceptibility of these districts with spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The minister however, didn’t assert any fact that the spread of HIV in these districts links to foreign tourists and infiltrators from Bangladesh.
The government had launched the National AIDS Control Programme (NACO) Phase III in association with State AIDS Control Societies but the recent rise in occurrence rate in Orissa indicates that preventative care and treatment support is not enough and the administration needs to have special focus on such issues.
During the financial year 2007-08, Rs 15.06 crore was allocated to the Orissa government to spread HIV awareness programmes in rural areas considering the fact of less awareness among rural people.
NACO has been doing regular campaigns through mass media to make people aware of the HIV/AIDS and to promote safe sexual behaviour. Efforts have also been made to focus on high-risk zones, persons including migrants, truck drivers, and female sex workers while encouraging them to use condoms.
Hence, both state and central governments have to be more specific in developing strategy, while providing knowledge on HIV/AIDS treatment, management reaching wide and diverse groups section in both rural communities and towns.