182 HIV +ve in Andaman

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{image-world aids day_03062008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Port Blair, Jun 3: Altogether 182 people have been found to be HIV positive in the remote archipelago of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, recording a slight rise in the number since 2007.

Project Director of the Andaman and Nicobar AIDS Control Society (ANACS) Dr Mishri Lal told mediapersons here today, ''Out of the 182 HIV positive people, 152 are from Andaman district while 30 are from the tribal-dominated Nicobar group.'' Besides, about 170 foreign nationals, mostly poachers apprehended by the Coast Guard and Andaman police and presently in the Andaman jail, had also been found to be HIV positive, he added.

The findings were a cause of serious concern as 30 cases had been detected in the Nicobar Group of Islands, which are mostly dominated by tribal people and there was very little awareness about HIV/AIDS among the tribals.

''In such a scenario, even a single HIV infection can wipe out the entire tribal population within a decade,'' a tribal activist of Andaman warned.

To educate the people in these far-flung islands, the ANACS has organised a series of workshops and awareness campaigns.

However, experts advocated that the Centre should plan some exclusive strategies for the geographically inaccessible islands, where HIV/AIDS could prove to be a major disaster.


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