Frequency of AIDs in homosexuals, transgenders decrease

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Surat, Oct 17 (UNI) At a time when Government authorities and NGO's are struggling to curb increasing ratio of HIV and AIDS from society, there is a good news for homosexuals and transgenders.

A study conducted by Surat-based Lakshya Trust has revealed that ratio of patients having HIV and AIDS has been reduced among homosexuals and transgenders, due to awareness and reduction of high risk behaviour.

Subhash Patel, counsellor of Lakhsya Trust, said the decline is due to continuous counselling and other help provided to this community. ''Patients are taking timely treatment and have reduced high risk behaviour. However, to maintain this figure more hard and essential steps have to be initiated, besides detecting new cases,'' he added.

Mr Patel said Lakshya is initiating a new campaign called ''Hum Saath-Saath Hain'' to attract new patients within the communities. As per the campaign, meetings, discussions and counselling will held at areas where chances of HIV+ and AIDS patients are a high. Members of the Trust will interact with patients and convince them for undergoing treatment.

The study has been done by A R T (Anti Retroviral Treatment) department, doctors and lab technicians of Surat Government hospital on a group of 250 homosexual and transgender people of all sections and class attached to Laksya Trust.

The report states that ratio of HIV in Surat has gone down to 7.76 per cent in 2007 as compared to 15.60 per cent in 2005 and 13.36 per cent in 2006. It suggests that in just two years, the rate has gone halfway down and shows that patient have become more aware about the disease. Another reason revealed during study is that majority of HIV+ patients have stopped sexual relationships with partners after detection of disease.

However, Some specialists have doubts about the percentage ratio and feel that a study on 250 people is not enough to derive on any conclusion. Specialists added that survey done by an NGO a year back stated that there are more than 50,000 homosexuals and transgenders in Surat and a figure of 250 is less than 1 per cent for study.

''It might be that earlier percentage was high as number of patients were less, while in the recent survey, percentage has come low as total number of patients are more. For example, 15 per cent ratio in 1,000 patient derives another result than 15 per cent ratio in 2,000 patients. It has to be verified, whether ratios of patients have been surveyed are as per population or not. If yes, then there is some point in the entire study,'' a senior doctor in A R T department of New Civil Hospital opined.

UNI XR/PVN SR SB KP1640

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