Joining the fight….
The contemporary times we live in are not at all benign. Firstly, if the alarming rate of Non-Communicable Diseases is not enough, then the number of people detected or living with HIV/ AIDS is on the rise.
The augmenting number of HIV positive cases detected in across the country is indubitably a concern. Five new HIV positive cases were detected every month as per recent news report, with the country having had recorded 32 more HIV positive cases between December to June this year.
The total number of detected cases today is a whopping 492. And this seriously deserves a lot of deep reckoning. The figure is almost double of what it was four or five years back.
Although HIV/ AIDS in Bhutan is categorized as a ‘ low level epidemic’, but this figure is just the tip of an iceberg. This is because almost all the cases that we were diagnosed are done mostly through contact tracing and voluntary testing, while some are found during medical checkup or screening.
As these numbers were derived just from these mechanisms, we could only imagine what the actual figure is likely to be. The figure, therefore, is only expected to be more than what it is now. Thousand of our common folks across the country are still yet to avail such testing facility.
The other disturbing revelation is the age group of the people contracting this disease. We have our most economically productive and reproductive age group contracting this disease. Given our small and vulnerable population, such predicament would only pose serious socio- economic development risk.
We are not only losing our close and dear ones, but also losing people in the most economically productive and reproductive age group ( as per age group distribution of PLWHAs).
And while we may vie to have HIV diagnostic testing services available in all places across the country, but what is more wanting now is the awareness on safe sex practices or sex education. Unsafe sex is still the main cause of HIV/ AIDS.
Rather considering it a taboo, it’s conceivable, besides the pivotal role of teachers and parents, a curriculum on sex education, where every child is taught that an unprotected sex can kill, will do much better.