The Tragedy of AIDS in India

AIDS ( Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome ) is a disease caused by HIV ( Human Immuno Deficiency Virus) . After HIV infection the body’s capacity to fight diseases, is weakened .When the body’s immune system is weakened then it is overcome by many diseases at the same time. At the beginning of 1986, there were 20,000 reported AIDS cases world wide. It had been known as a disease since 1981. But India had no reported cases of HIV / AIDS in 1986. After some time HIV / AIDS cases started to emerge. India’s first cases of HIV were diagnosed among sex workers in Chennai in the State of Tamil Nadu. It was noted that contact with foreign visitors had played a role in initial infections among sex workers. As HIV screeing Centers were set up across the Country, there were calls for visitors to be screeined for HIV. The spread of HIV/ AIDS takes place first – when an HIV / AIDS infected person has sexual intercourse with another person , second – HIV infected blood is given to an uninfected person and by use of a syringe infected with HIV, third – HIV infected mother giving birth to a baby. Therefore the best way to prevent spread of the disease is to avoid all of the above causes. For safe sex contraceptives should be used and an awareness campaign to educate people must be conducted. There are three types of tests which ascertain HIV infection. The first – Alisa test, second Rapid test and third CD -4 test. Only if all these tests are positive is a person deemed to be infected. The treatment for AIDS is through Anti Retro Viral Drugs which are very expensive due to the seriousness of the ailment. A stigma has come to be attached and so those suffering from the disease face discrimination. There is an irrational fear among people that even touching HIV infected people will cause spread of the disease. Most of initial cases had occurred by heterosexual sex but at the end of the 1980s a rapid spread of HIV was observed among injecting drug users. At the beginning of the 1990s, as infection rates continued to rise the government set- up National AIDS Control Organisation in 1992 to oversee the formulation of policies for prevention work and control programme relating to HIV and AIDS. In the same year, the government launched a strategic plan, the national AIDS control programme for HIV prevention and also set up the State AIDS control Societies in 25 States and 7 Union territories in India. The second phase was from 2001-2006. The prevention of mother to child transmission programme and the prevention of free anti retro Viral treatment were implemented in Indore and Jabalpur for the first time. Each State had its own AIDS prevention and control society. It granted funding for youth campaigns, blood safety checks and HIV testing. The various public platforms were used to raise awareness of the epidemic like – Radio Dramas, voluntary blood donation day and TV spots with popular Indian film Stars. The third phase was from 2006 – 2011. The highest priority given to targetting high risk groups like sex workers, homosexuals and injecting drug users. The programme has a budget of around 2.6 billion $ . This money came from Non – Governmental Organisations , Companies and International Agencies such as the WorldBank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The government has founded a national campaign to spread awareness about HIV / AIDS . the seven Coach Train called the Red Ribbon Express travelled to 180 Stations in 24 States in the India and educated around 6.2 million people accross the country . Following the success of the campain the Red Ribbon Express took off again in 2009. It had educated 3.8 million people and now it has travelled 26 States in India. In 2009 HIV / AIDS patients were estimated at about 2.4 million people in india. According to the “Visvash Clinic” ( an NGO ), Indore has nearly 5,500 AIDS patients while there are 9,500 AIDS patients in the State of Madhya Pradesh. But 29,000 are known to be HIV Infected in Madhya Pradesh of which 37% are women and 63 % are men. Only this Organisation is working for them to treat the HIV/AIDS patients and it is providing 500 rupees for nutrition in a month to the children , 2500 for education for them in a year and 5000 to start a small business to each family. There is an association of AIDS affected people named M.P. Network of People Living with HIV/ AIDS.

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