PALPA, June 24:Although the government has set a target to bring down the rate of HIV/AIDS transmission to zero within 2016, the rate of transmission of the virus in Palpa district has been on the rise instead.
A total of 102 people in the district were tested positive for the infection during the fiscal year of 2012/13. Then a year later, 86 others were infected while the number rose to 104 in the last fiscal year. At present, there are 265 HIV infected people in the district, according to Madhav Gyawali, information officer at the District Public Health Office (DPHO), Palpa.
The number of newborns infected with HIV is also on the rise. “The were 33 HIV-infected infants last year. This year, the number of infants with the infection has been counted at 38,” informed Gyawali.
The DPHO has started “compulsory test” in birthing centers of the district in an attempt to combat high rate of HIV infection. “We have made HIV test compulsory in 26 birthing centers of the district,” said Rajendra Ghimire, senior officer at the DPHO. He further added that 184 health workers have been trained to conduct the test.
Ghimire said awareness program, access to information, and effectiveness of human resources and media can play a big role in bringing down the rate of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
According to the DPHO, 147 infected people out of the total 265 are currently under regular medication. They have been taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) on a regular basis. United Mission Hospital of the district has been providing the medicines free of cost to the HIV patients.