Tribune News Service
Patiala, May 16
The state has witnessed a two-fold increase in the HIV-AIDS cases in the past two years even as the number has dipped in the country.
With 36,794 cases in 2015 going up to 61,945 cases till December 2017, the life-threatening disease is on the rise.
As per the 2017 UNAIDS data, HIV infection has seen a decrease by 46 per cent, and AIDS-related deaths have gone down by 22 per cent since 2010.
In 2016, the country had 80,000 new HIV infections as compared to 1,50,000 in 2005, and 62,000 AIDS-related deaths as compared to 1,50,000 in 2005.
As per the Punjab State AIDS Control Society (since its inception in 1989), of the 50 lakh people, 61,945 tested positive for HIV.
While Amritsar topped the list with 14,929 PLHIV cases until 2017, Ludhiana stands second with 7,210 cases.
Fazilka has the minimum PLHIV cases (376). The figure is based on data collected from government hospitals and the number may vary.
Experts believe that people living with HIV (PLHIV) are on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and have achieved viral suppression. Still, they have a lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than those in the general population.
HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, is just a virus, and not a full-blown disease. But if HIV is left untreated, it develops into a condition called AIDS, also known as stage 3 HIV.
Although there is no cure for HIV, with the right treatment and support, such people can live a healthy life.
It is important to take treatment correctly and deal with any possible side-effects. HIV virus is transmitted from one person to another through the exchange of bodily fluids.
Even worst, a mother can transmit the virus to the child during pregnancy. Project Director, Punjab AIDS Control Society, BP Nivasan said: “There is a decline in the cases by 22 to 30 per cent. With more and more awareness, a large number of people are coming forward to take the treatment.”