22 new HIV cases de­tected

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

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.

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