Highlights

  • AP has 1.82 lakh HIV positive patients.
  • Around 50 per cent of HIV positive patients in India accounts for six states.

Visakhapatnam: Andhra Pradesh has stood second place in the highest number of HIV patients in the country with 1,82,342 HIV positive patients.

As per the latest data from the National Health Profile-2019, Andhra Pradesh has 1,82,342 (14.32 per cent) of the 1,273,323 HIV positive patients in the country in 2018. Maharashtra has 2,45,032 HIV positive patients followed by Andhra Pradesh (1.82 lakh), Karnataka (1.62 lakh), Tamil Nadu (1.16 lakh) and Telangana (78,775). Earlier, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were in the first three places, but this year AP leapt to the second position.

Around 50 per cent of the HIV positive patients in the country belong to only six states. (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Gujarat). The prevalence of HIV has decreased to 0.41 per cent from 1.7 per cent in Andhra Pradesh.

Officials from the Medical and Health Department said that illiteracy, poor health, migration, non-traditional sex practices and trafficking are some of the factors contributing to the spread of HIV in Andhra Pradesh.

The contract employees of the National AIDS Control Society (NACO) and the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS), who provide counselling to HIV positive patients at Anti Retroviral Treatment (ART) centres in the state, said that officials are abusing the funds used to provide health care to the high-risk group (HIV patients).

The contract employees of APSACS said that they have been working for meagre wages by risking their lives in the field. But, some officials in the health department have been delaying in the release of the employees’ salaries. Sources said that the APSACS has been facing a fund crunch for the past few years, as the allocation from NACO has reduced funds to Rs 120 crore from Rs 160 crore a year.

CPM leader, B Ganga Rao said that the contract employees of APSACS have managed to convince people that one can live long even after being diagnosed HIV positive. But over 30 per cent of HIV patients are losing hopes as there is no financial support from the government and there is a misuse of funds, he added.

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