HIV+ pregnancy rise alarming
The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, May 18: "With 4.2% of the pregnant women in Ukhrul district tested HIV positive, Manipur ranks the highest in the percentage of HIV positive cases among pregnant women in India.
Pregnant women are considered as surrogate indicator of general population. So this rate clearly indicates that HIV/AIDS in Ukhrul needs immediate action and the people should not overlook this issue for Naga integration."
This was stated by NACO Consultant Dr Khomdon Lisham. Dr Khomdon said that the people of Manipur in general are busy with integration ' whether safeguarding it or constructing it ' but worldwide Manipur has become famous for HIV/AIDS.
Observing that the issue should not be ignored any longer, the doctor said, "As per a UN report 100 lakhs new cases of HIV infection are expected in five years from India alone."
Explaining the possible cause for the sharp rise in HIV infection in Ukhrul district, Dr Khomdon said, "The present scenario of HIV/AIDS in Ukhrul is due to the high presence of injecting drug users (IDUs) in Ukhrul. Three-four years back out of the 500 IDUs about 60-70% were unmarried."
Stressing that some specific targeted projects are required for Ukhrul district, he said that Ukhrul proper, Kamjong, Chassad and Jessami report the highest cases of HIV/AIDS.
Another issue Dr Khomdon highlighted was the rising cases of HIV infection among the Assam Rifle personnel. Referring to NACO report on HIV infections among army he said, "Around 550 AR personnel deployed in Manipur and Nagaland are HIV positive and around 5,200 infections are reported among the Indian military forces."
He said that some intervention programmes for the army have already been undertaken by UNAIDS and the army and very soon "separate work place policy will be made and compulsory HIV/AIDS testing among new recruits might be introduced".
Dr Khomdon was speaking to media persons after presenting a paper on "Present scenario of HIV/AIDS and role of Meira Paibi" at the training of women leaders and sensitization on HIV/AIDS at the Sangeet Natya Bidyalaya, Kwakeithel today.
Jointly organised by Meitei Leimarol Sinnai Sang and Manipur State AIDS Control Society, Dr H Angomcha, psychiatrist JN Hospital and Dr Gaining Gangmei, MO, IWR spoke on "Drug abuse and youth and their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS" and "Women, STTDs and HIV/AIDS".