Sibatala, Bolangir (Orissa), June 30 : Residents of a village here underwent HIV/AIDS test recently after learning about an HIV patient belonging to their village who claimed to have maintained physical relations with some women here.
Twenty nine-year-old Ratan, who is a resident of Sibtala Village that is 30 kilometers from Bolangir Sadar Block of Orissa, was tested HIV positive at the Berhampur Centre over six weeks ago.
But his revelation to media about physical revelations with many shocked everyone at his village.
The news soon triggered panic in the village and all the families of the village decided to undergo the HIV/AIDS test for precaution. "I have had sexual affair with many women, do not question the kind of relationship I have with them. There are two women who are from the village itself," said Ratan, the HIV positive person.
On June 7, a meeting was held over the revelation and its possible fall out. It was followed by a massive awareness rally in the village about HIV/AIDS.
"When we heard about the news, we thought why not start a rally to create awareness among the people on the dangers of this disease which is incurable. If we start now, it can help to a certain extent," said Hrishikesh Hota, a resident of Sibtala.
Villagers requested the District Collector to organise an HIV/AIDS test camp in their village since they apprehended that if a message is conveyed among neighbouring places that their village is HIV affected, apart from a social boycott the future of their children may be doomed.
To prevent such a situation, villagers urged the District administration for a mass HIV test camp in their village.
The District Health Department conducted the HIV blood test camp in the village and people voluntarily came forward for the blood test to check HIV.
" The new had panicked villagers and soon all the community members and our club (Rotarians) members joined hands together to organise an AIDS awareness programme with the help of the Government, as AIDS is hard to control," said Balkrishna Behara, Secretary Rotary Club, Bolangir.
"We wanted to undergo test to see if the people were infected. Five hundred people rallied in the village including 300 women and 200 men. The Sarpanch (village head) helped us a lot. We also wrote a letter to the District Collector and with the help of Bolangir medical team, we conducted it here. Even the small children underwent the blood test," Behara informed.
The medical team conducted test on over 100 villagers.
"People of Sibatala had requested that they needed blood testing in their village. So we sent a team in which they've collected around more than 100 samples for this HIV testing," said Dr. Purna Chandra Sahu, Assistant District Medical Officer-cum-AIDS controller, Bolangir District.
"It was a sensitive issue. Some villages had voluntarily demanded, as the patient himself has confessed that he had sexual affairs with multiple partners of that village. So we took it as a special case and did it," he added.