HIV continue affects productive age group
The reported case of HIV among the young people between the age group of 15 to 49 years, especially women, continues to rise in Bhutan. This was reveled during a recent media advocacy training in Thimphu.
Talking to the media and other stakeholders, at the two-day training workshop, Dr. Tandi said majority of people living with HIV are housewives, which stand at 106, since its detection. The HIV case was first detected in 1993 in the country.
Today, Bhutan has registered 515 cases of HIV infection with almost an equal proportion of male and female, 265 and 250 respectively, including 35 children. However it was learned that the mother to child transmission of HIV has been reduced.
The majority of 90 percent of people living with HIV, including newly diagnosed, continue to be infected through unsafe sexual practices, followed by vertical transmission at 8 percent.
The majority of the reported cases are diagnosed by contact tracing, routine medical screening and voluntary HIV counseling and testing.
The training was conducted to construct engagement of media representatives in the advocacy of Lhaksam and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community on issues related to HIV.
In the meantime, stigma and discrimination faced by LGBTI community especially transgender people were also discussed. It was learned that transgender women faces challenges of violence and the men having sex with men (MSM) are identified as high risk for HIV.
The workshop was to build capacity of media personnel in accurate and correct reporting of HIV and SOGIE. Besides, it expects to build partnership and collaboration in raising interest and highlighting issues related to HIV.
The World Health Organization estimated at over 1,000 Bhutanese living with HIV.
In 2015, an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV, 2.1 million people were newly infected with HIV and 1.1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses globally. While UNAIDS has estimated about 1,100 cases in Bhutan.