Kendrapara, Dec 1 (LocalWire): At least 168 people have reportedly succumbed to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) since 2003 in the coastal district of Kendrapara. .35
Kendrapara Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Baishanaba Charana Sahoo said there are 712 HIV patients in the district.
“Since 2003, 168 AIDS patients, including 65 women, have succumbed to the disease in the district,” said Dr Sahoo.
“Out of 712 HIV patients, 435 are male, 235 women and 42 are children. Out of 47 AIDS affected persons in the district, 18 are women,” he added.
To prevent the birth of HIV children, the Odisha AIDS Control Society (OACS) has been providing anti-retroviral treatment (ART) drops under its Prevention of Parents to Child Transmission (PPCT) programme to all the HIV and AIDS affected pregnant women.
“Mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding is the most common reason of growing HIV/AIDS patients. During 2009-14, we used to give only one ART drop to pregnant women, which was not enough to help in giving birth to a healthy baby,” said the doctor.
” But since January 2015, we have increased the dose to three drops,” said Dr. Sahoo.
PPCT programmes provide antiretroviral treatment to HIV-positive pregnant women to stop their infants from acquiring the virus. If the mother takes the test and is found to be HIV positive, she will have the option to join the PPCT programme for free.
All HIV positive pregnant or breastfeeding women qualify for PPCT.
” PPCT drops will reduce the risk of HIV transmission to the baby and protect the mother’s health during and after pregnancy,” said the CDMO.
“Without treatment, the likelihood of HIV passing from mother-to-child is 30 percent. However, anti-retroviral treatment and other effective PPCT interventions can reduce this risk to below two percent,” he said.
He further said all infants born to HIV-positive mothers should receive a course of antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible after birth.
“The treatment should be linked to the mother’s course of antiretroviral drugs and the infant feeding method,” added Dr. Sahoo.
Meanwhile, officials have already identified high risk areas in Pattamundai, Rajnagar, Aul and Rajkanika blocks in the district.