Kolkata, Dec 1: A survey has revealed that West Bengal is gradually moving towards becoming a medium prevalence HIV state from low prevalence one, a scientist said here Saturday on World AIDS Day.
“Bengal was a low prevalence HIV state but gradually it’s going towards medium prevalence state as per studies,” said Kamalesh Sarkar, deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology (HIV/AIDS), National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases.
“HIV prevalence is very high in certain pockets. Unless we control it, it will continue to rise,” Sarkar told IANS.
According to a survey conducted by the Epidemiology division of NICED in the state, sex workers, truck drivers and street children are the most affected.
“About 150 out of 15,000 street children are HIV positive. This is probably due to sexual abuse and drug intake via shared injections,” said Sarkar.
The fact that HIV positive patients do not diligently follow the drug therapy regimen adds to the woes.
“They stop taking medication after the emergency period. This makes the virus drug resistant,” added Sarkar.
As per data from the World Health Organization in 2011, there were 2.5 million new cases of AIDS patients and around 1.7 million people died due to the disease.
However, there were seven lakh lesser new HIV infections than 10 years ago and six lakh fewer deaths from AIDS than in 2005.