HIV af­fects pro­duc­tive age group

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The re­ported cases of HIV in­fec­tion are be­tween the age group of 15 to 49 years, which con­sti­tutes about 87 per­cent in the coun­try.

To­day, Bhutan has reg­is­tered 548 cases of HIV in­fec­tion with al­most an equal pro­por­tion of male and fe­male with 284 and 264 re­spec­tively, in­clud­ing 35 chil­dren.

Since De­cem­ber 2016, 33 new HIV pos­i­tive cases have been de­tected in the last six months. The Na­tional HIV/AIDS and STIs Con­trol Pro­gramme of the De­part­ment of Public Health up­date HIV sta­tus every six months.

Ac­cord­ing to the cen­tre’s record shared on the Face­book page on 22 August, the HIV in­fected aged of 15 to 49 years, aged 20 to 24 years of 79 peo­ple, aged 25 to 29 years of 133, aged 30 to 39 years of 176 and aged 40 to 49 years of 57. The re­port states that 26 HIV pos­i­tive cases are chil­dren be­low five years.

About 90 per­cent of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV, in­clud­ing newly di­ag­nosed, con­tinue to be in­fected through un­safe sex­ual prac­tices of 506 peo­ple while 35 ac­quired the in­fec­tion through moth­ers to child trans­mis­sion. Three each were re­ported through probable use of in­tra­venous drug and blood trans­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to the stat- ics, the ma­jor­ity of the re­ported cases are di­ag­nosed by con­tact trac­ing for 162 peo­ple, vol­un­tary HIV coun­sel­ing for 119 peo­ple and 117 peo­ple were de­tected through test­ing rou­tine med­i­cal

screen­ing.

Go­ing by the oc­cu­pa­tional back­ground, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV are from house­wives which stand at 112. While 107 farm­ers, 92 busi­ness and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als and 50 driv­ers are de­tected HIV pos­i­tives. It is also re­ported that there are 29 civil ser­vants and 28 cor­po­rate and pri­vate em­ploy­ees with HIV pos­i­tive.

The sta­tis­tics also shows that 11 peo­ple are from re­li­gious body, 36 peo­ple are from armed forces, eight are stu­dents and three pris­on­ers. 12 sex work­ers are also de­tected with HIV pos­i­tive.

Bhutan’s HIV re­sponse has been guided by the global and re­gional poli­cies, in­clud­ing UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly, Po­lit­i­cal Dec­la­ra­tions and Res­o­lu­tions, UNAIDS and WHO Strate­gies and guide­lines.

The HIV cases were first de­tected in 1993 in the coun­try. Since the first cases were re­ported, the pro­gres­sive achieve­ments have been made in pro­mot­ing safe sex prac­tice, pro­mo­tion of vol­un­tary coun­sel­ing test­ing and in­creas­ing en­roll­ment on treat­ment.

The case no­ti­fi­ca­tion rate has im­proved af­ter 2006. Since then, 40 to 45 cases are di­ag­nosed every year on av­er­age due to in­tro­duc­tion of HIV coun­sel­ing and test­ing ser­vices in all the health cen­ters in­clud­ing the BHUs. The mother to child trans­mis­sion of HIV has been re­duced by 2015.

The Min­istry also launched the re­vised na­tional strate­gic plan from 2017 to 2023 and re­vised ART treat­ment guide­line, 2016 on treat- all pol­icy ini­tia­tives.

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.

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