838 test HIV+ since April: NSACS
KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 19
While the number of new HIV cases across the world are said to be decreasing, Nagaland has a different story to tell. With 838 persons testing positive out of 41,221 since April 2014 as per data released by the Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS), a rough trend of about 170 new HIV cases per month at an average can be estimated.A press release issued by the NSCACS IEC today on the current scenario of HIV and AIDS in the state revealed that out of the 838 positive cases detected during the past five months, Dimapur district has a high prevalence, leading the chart with more than half (427 positive cases), indicating about 80 new cases per month at an average. Kohima district trails behind with 159 testing positive during the same period while Tuensang had 80 cases, Mokokchung 53 cases, Mon 11, Zunheboto 13, Phek and Wokha 17 each, Peren 23, Kiphire 34 and finally Longleng with 4 cases, the least in the state.
The NSACS report also stated that 314 AIDS cases and 31 AIDS related deaths have been reported between the months of April to August this year.
These statistics, although alarming, only indicate enrolled/registered figures and many people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIVs) are said to be yet to come out in the open with their status due to stigma and discrimination. The society needs to realize and understand that HIV and AIDS is a concept that has to be discussed beyond the NGOs working in HIV and AIDS related fields.
Besides stigma and discrimination, fear of disclosure of status, self-stigma and denial, and inability to access services owing to geographical barriers are reportedly some of the challenges that PLHIVs in Nagaland face.
According to NSACS, the current HIV and AIDS prevalence rate in the state is 2.03 % which is a lot higher than the national prevalence rate 0.27% (2013).
Such alarming data calls for joint efforts and for people from all sections of the society to discuss how, as a community, they can help in spreading basic awareness on HIV and AIDS and to curb the menace from growing further in our society.