Nearly 10,000 HIV positive cases in state


AIDS newsby Dipak Mishra, 10 Oct 2006

PATNA: With the number of HIV positive cases on the rise, the disease is threatening to assume alarming proportion in Bihar.

According to the latest statistics provided by the Bihar State Aids Control Society (BSACS), the number of HIV positive cases in the state is close to 10,000. The first case of AIDS in Bihar was detected in Nawada in 1992.

n the last two years, the number of such patients have shot up by over 3,500 and more than 100 have died due to AIDS. Around 64 per cent of the HIV victims are males.

On an average around 2,000 HIV patients are being detected every year in Bihar. Unofficially, even members of the society concede that the actual figure of HIV patients would be much higher.

Despite the claims of creating awareness on AIDS and HIV, patients hit by the dreaded disease still face social boycott. There are reports from Saharsa about one Shambhu Singh of Pama village who was left to die by his family members and co-villagers.

Singh was working in Delhi and has been an HIV patient for the last three years. Earlier, there were reports from Darbhanga about the wife of an AIDS patient having to drag the body of her deceased husband to the cremation pyre because relatives and villagers refused to touch the body.

Earlier, an HIV patient was reportedly isolated and locked in a room at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital. Apparently, the media publicity and awareness campaign launched by voluntary organisations is still to evoke the desired public response.

Sources said a major chunk of HIV patients in Bihar are migrant workers returning to the state after being affected by the disease in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and other places.

Not surprisingly, the growth of HIV patients has been alarming in eight districts of North Bihar due to largescale migration of labourers. These are East Champaran, West Champaran, Khagaria, Madhubani, Purnia, Kishanganj, Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi.

But it is not just the large number of migrant labourers the state has to worry about. The state has been identified for trafficking of women especially in areas located near the Indo-Nepal border.

There are 22 identified red light areas having about 3,000 sex workers in Kosi area alone, according to an NGO Bhoomika Vihar.

The number rapidly increased during the past five years. “Its anybody’s guess what the actual figure of HIV patients in Bihar will be if sex workers and their clients are tested for HIV,” said Arun Kumar the convener of Bhoomika Vihar.