335 HIV positive cases detected in Andaman

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Port Blair, Dec 1 (UNI) As many as 335 HIV positive cases have been detected in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, according to latest figures released here today on the occasion of the World AIDS Day by the Andaman and Nicobar AIDS Control Society (ANACS). Of the 335 HIV positive cases, 162 are Indian citizens and 173 foreign nationals, mostly poachers, apprehended by the Coast Guard and police.

Of the 162 HIV positive Indians, 136 were from Andaman and 26 from the Nicobar districts respectively, the ANACS stated.

The detection of such a large number of cases in the Nicobar district was a matter of great concern as among the Nicobari tribal people there was not much restrictions on sex and under the circumstances, 26 HIV cases might result in major disaster among the community, general secretary of the Healthy Environment and Less Pollution (HELP) Subhasis Ray told UNI today.

''More efforts should be put by the ANACS to spread awareness regarding HIV-AIDS among the tribal population,'' he opined.

Meanwhile, Project Director of the Society Mishri Lall told newspersons that so far 40 AIDS cases had been diagnosed in these islands out of which 29 were Indian and 11 were foreign nationals and of these, 20 were from Andaman and nine from Nicobar districts.

Among the 40 AIDS patients, 38 had died, Mr Lall said in an official release.

NGOs believe that the HIV was usually dangerous among geographically isolated places, due to lack of proper awareness.

''We must educate our people about AIDS and that is the key to stop the disease from spreading,'' Mr Ray said.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, along with rest of the world, would observe December one as 'World AIDS Day' with the theme ''Stop AIDS,'' ''KEEP the promise'' throughout the territory to create awareness among general public and encourage people to break the silence and barriers for effective HIV-AIDS prevention and care.

UNI

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