22 new HIV cases detected
Within the six months in between June to November this year, the ministry of health had detected another 22 new HIV cases consisting of 10 males and 12 females which accounts to 570 detected cases.
The press release from the ministry of health, states that among the new cases 36 percent each are housewives and farmers, 14 percent drivers, nine percent civil servants and five percent unemployed groups.
The majority 95 percent of them are between the ages of 20-49 and five percent above 50 years.
Among the 22 new cases, 27 percent were detected through medical screening, 23 percent each through voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), Antenatal Care (ANC) and contact tracing whereas four percent through the mobile screening states the press release.
Meanwhile, during the World AIDS day in the capital last Friday, two women went to public to reveal their HIV positive status.
The Executive Director of Lhak-Sam, Wangda Dorji said that they were going to the public voluntarily. He said that going for the public is not for themselves but going for the nation to create awareness about the infection.
Tashi Pelzom, 35 years from Samdrupjongkhar, said that she was detected with HIV positive in 2004 but there was no antiretroviral treatment (ART). She said that she started with ART only in 2011.
She added that she have gone to public so that people may not know the diseases within them. She said that she decided to go public to create awareness and give support to the people.
People don’t go for testing, she said that
earlier the test, earlier the treatment. Meanwhile, her 13 years child is HIV negative.
Another 34 years woman from Shumar, Pemagatshel, Losem Zangmo who goes public during the day said that she go public to create awareness about the disease.
She said that after she was detected with the HIV positive, she was scared that she will die soon but with the medication and counseling she received, help her to stay strong.
Her three children were not infected with the diseases. She said that she was detected in 2008 as HIV positive. She got the disease from her husband.
Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk, the minister for health said that the stigma and discrimination are one of major challenges in prevention, care and treatment of HIV and AIDS.
The minister said that the social and self-stigma keeps people from disclosing their status to family, friends and sexual partners because the nature of HIV infections strongly linked to one’s sex and sexuality. This has discouraged many of them from coming forwards for testing and accessing the timely care and treatment.
He further said that Bhutan has a case detec- tion gap of 48 percent as of now which indicates that about 530 people living with HIV (PLHIV) may not be aware of their HIV status. An unwillingness to take an HIV test means that more people are diagnosed late, when the virus may have already progressed to AIDS.
Lyonpo said everyone to come forward and avail the HIV testing and counseling services to know one’s HIV status. “The ear- ly diagnosis of HIV is very important for initiation of care, treatment, support and to prevent further transmission of HIV.”
As of now, there were 10 people that include four women who have gone for public with HIV status.
The day was graced by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck and Her Royal Highness Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck.
Get yourself tested: The health ministry urged the public to come forward to avail HIV testing and counseling services to find out their HIV-status.