Srinagar, Aug 17 : The cases of HIV AIDS are increasing with each passing year in Jammu & Kashmir as 6,158 patients have tested positive in the union territory till June 2023.
An official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that so far 1,400 HIV-positive patients have died while 3,478 patients are living on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). He said 547 patients have left follow-up.
He said that 5,060 cases of HIV have been reported at GMC Jammu and among them, 1,228 have died, 503 have left follow-up and 2718 are living on ART.
Similarly, in SKIMS Srinagar, the number of patients registered in HIV care is 746 while 148 have died, 32 have left follow-up and 448 are living on ART, he added.
In ART Kuthua, the number of patients registered in HIV care is 352 while 24 have died, 12 have left follow-up and 312 are living on ART.
The officials said that due to social stigma, most people aren’t coming forward for HIV tests and over the years, the number of patients infected has shown a rising trend.
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 society and such people 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.
Most of the patients who have tested positive for HIV AIDS in J&K have contracted the disease from outside the UT.
“Drug addicts are at a 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—(KNO)