By: Jahangeer Ganaie
Srinagar, Nov 21: The cases of HIV AIDS are increasing with each passing year as 5,896 patients have been tested HIV positive in J-K so far.
Officials told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that so far 1,362 HIV positive patients have died while 3,313 patients are alive on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) while 524 patients have left follow-up.
They said that because of social stigma, people aren’t coming forward for the HIV tests and over the years the number of patients infected by HIV has shown a rising trend.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir Aids Control Society (JKACS) data, a copy of which is in possession with KNO till October 2022, total number of PLHIV registered with HIV care has reached to 5,896 and among them 1,332 have died, 524 have left follow up and 3313 are alive on ART.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding, multi person usage of needles. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.
Officials said that a person suffering from AIDS is unfortunately often regarded as a stigma in the society and such people often become victims of ostracism, rejection and discrimination.
They said that J-K is at a greater risk of HIV AIDS because of being a tourist destination as tourists across the world visit J-K.
They added that most of the patients who have been tested positive for HIV AIDS in J-K have contracted the disease from outside J-K.
“Drug addicts are at higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and if they are married or are sexually active, they transmit this to their partners as well,” they said.
Notably the first HIV positive case in Kashmir was detected in 1986, a Kashmiri businessman who had gone to Germany and possibly contracted the infection—(KNO)