Growing HIV epidemic a big challenge in Kailali

Published On: October 31, 2018 02:30 AM NPT By: Yogesh Rawal

TIKAPUR, Oct 31: The random increase in the number of people infected with HIV has been a matter of big concern in Kailali.

A study conducted by Nabakiran Plus, a non-governmental organization (NGO) working in this sector, reveals that HIV infection has been growing every month in the district.

While the country-wide data shows the number of HIV infected has been decreasing, the number has been rising in Kailali. According to Nabakirans Plus, the number of patients coming for Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) has increased at the Dhangadhi-based Seti Zonal Hospital and the ART Center of Tikapur Hospital.

Arjun Gyawali, chief of the organization, informed Republica that the number of HIV infected has been rising by 5 to 6 per month in Dhangadhi and 3 to 4 percent per month in Tikapur. "While the other districts are witnessing a massive decline, the number of HIV infected has been continuously increasing in Kailali," said Gyawali. Currently, 800 people in Dhangadhi and 450 in Tikapur are receiving ART.

The government has been making efforts for bringing the number of HIV infected down in coordination with various governmental and non-governmental organizations. A huge amount of budget has been allocated for this campaign. But the increasing number of HIV infected has become a challenge for the authorities concerned.

There are several reasons behind the growing HIV infection in Kailali, according to Nabikaran Plus. Poverty, migration and drug abuse, among others, are the contributing factors for increasing rate. As stated by Gyawali, grug addicts are more prone to this virus. He further said that most of the HIV infected belong to the age group of 20 to 40 years.

Surprisingly, most of them are female. It has been speculated that the number of females is high because most of the males who get HIV while working in foreign land are not in contact. Apart from women, 163 of them are children. Most of them live with their parents and some without parents live with their relatives. The government has been providing Rs 1,000 per month to such infected children.

There are some families where all members are infected with this life-threatening virus. There are some cases where HIV infected parents have given birth to healthy babies. This organization has arranged residential facility for HIV-infected people in Dhangadhi and Tikapur. They are provided with regular checkups, treatment and counseling over there.

The government and various organizations are working to make sure that HIV infected people do not have to face social stigma and other hurdles like in the past. They have been receiving help for medicines, treatment and for managing their livelihoods.

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