Like other diseases, there is significant decrease in detection of Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) cases in Dakshina Kannada following COVID-19 and its restrictions, said District Health and Family Welfare Officer Ramachandra Bayeri here on Friday.
Speaking with reporters, Dr. Bayeri said the decrease is because of low turn out of people to the Out Patient Departments in hospitals. “The number of people coming to the OPD continues to be low. Hence, like other viruses, detection of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) among people is less,” he said.
On an average, 500 HIV new cases have been reported every year since 2013 in Dakshina Kannada, which is among the districts in the red zone in the State. In 2018, the number of cases was at 530 and dropped to 422 in 2019. In the last 11 months, 103 HIV positive cases, which included three pregnant women, were found out of the 13,017 persons who were tested.
The pandemic, he said, has not affected care of HIV infected patients. Dr. Bayeri added. Apart from two Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART), there are taluk and community hospitals, which are the Link ARTs, where treatment of 4,080 HIV positive persons was being done. The viral loads in these persons are checked and they getting medicines by the 26th of every month, Dr. Bayeri said.
Bhadruddin, District TB Officer and nodal officer for AIDS control in the district, said NGOs were actively working on AIDS control by bringing HIV positive patients to the 20 Integrated Counselling and Testing centres, the two ARTS and the Link ARTs. “There is no stoppage of remuneration for the NGOs,” he said.
J. Sharath Kumar Rao, Senior Specialist from the Regional Blood Transfusion Centre of the Government Wenlock Hospital, said that testing of blood that is donated voluntarily has stopped spread of HIV through blood transfusion.