Aizawl, Apr 7 (UNI) As many as 2,497 people in Mizoram have been found to be HIV positive after conducting tests on 50,042 blood samples since October 1990 to February this year.
Official records registered 150 AIDS-related deaths during the 18-year period while presently there are 235 cases in which AIDS patients are in their advanced stages.
However, unofficial sources as well as the patients claimed that the actual number of people suffering from AIDS could be much higher, even double or triple the number in the official records.
''The actual number of HIV positives is certainly much higher than the official record, which is evident from the number of new members enrolling in our organisation,'' the Mizoram People Living with AIDS (MPLAS) leader, who is himself an HIV-positive, said.
He was speaking at a meeting of the Mizoram Legislators' Forum on HIV/AIDS, organised by the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society here today.
Speaking as the chief guest at the function, state Health Minister R Tlanghmingthanga stressed the need for more awareness on HIV/AIDS, particularly among the rural folks.
''It is high time that we, the MLAs, spread AIDS awareness from the political platform,'' the minister said.
However, only nine MLAs out of the 40 attended today's meeting.
Since the blood tests had been targetted only at the high risk group, there was also a possibility of promiscuous married men transmitting the virus unaware to their spouses.
Consequently, a number of women were found to be positive of the Human Immuno Virus as they underwent a pre-natal blood test which is compulsory in all government hospitals, MSACS officials said.
''As the chances of transmission of HIV from mother to child can be reduced from 20-30 per cent to three per cent by providing proper treatment, the Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission Centres (PPCTC) and Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) have been set up in eight civil hospitals, one sub-divisional hospital, seven CHCs and one PHC across the state,'' MSACS officials said.
Of the 2,497 HIV positive cases, including 1,008 females, 96 have been found to be transmitted from parent to child while 1,432 were attributed to sexual contact.
As many as 847 of them were said to be Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) while the remaining 122 cases were transmitted through other modes.
UNI ZS DPM KK VC1615