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AIDS Assessment Centres To Be Increased In The Country

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) will increase the number of centres that assess the spread of HIV/AIDS virus// in the country.

'We are planning to add 400 sites (to the existing 750 sites) to create an accurate system to gauge the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS,' said K. Sujatha Rao, additional secretary and director general of NACO, at the end of a three-day national seminar in the capital Sunday.

There were around 5.1 million HIV/AIDS affected people in the country according to the 2005 estimates, Rao said.

'This is a huge figure and if we do not work to control this spread in the next five years then we may not be able to control the situation ever,' she added.

'Around 90 percent of the estimated people do not even know that they are affected by the virus. To add to the problem, sometimes people do not come out in the open to address the problem and take medical help because of the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS,' she said.

The proposed additional centres will come up primarily in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.

'We believe these states are vulnerable,' she added.

Rao said Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Nagaland and Maharashtra were among the most affected states in the country.

'There is some goods news from Tamil Nadu as the spread of virus has been curtailed to some extent. The trend in this state is going down but we would not like to believe that the problem is over,' added Rao.

--Edited IANS
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