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Anti-HIV drive intensified in Haryana

The Harayana government has established 22 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres at Government General Hospitals and Community Health Centres in the state// in compliance with the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS), draft guidelines for the National AIDS Control Programme and with the aim to spread awareness about AIDS in the susceptible community.

According to the UNAIDS / WHO 2006 report on the global AIDS epidemic, 486 fresh cases of HIV/AIDS have been reported in Haryana last year, which accounts 0.13% of the country’s total figures.

Low detection does not indicate lower occurrence. Thus, the authorities in Haryana are worried about the poor detection regime and the failure to make people come forward to get them tested.

The number of new cases in the various states was 52,036 in Tamil Nadu, 13,747 in Maharashtra, 12,349 in Andhra Pradesh, 292 in Punjab, 252 in Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh has 1,260 new cases.

The government of Haryana is taking measures to establish counselling centres at the district level through the Integrated Health Care System. Experts have been deployed by the Haryana AIDS Control Society (HACS) that leads the HIV/ AIDS awareness programme in the state, to give free counseling. The vulnerable group including truck drivers and sex workers will be encouraged by these counselors to undergo the HIV detection test at a subsidised charge of Rs 10.

A spokesperson for the HACS said: 'Pregnant women who could be affected by HIV/AIDS are specially being encouraged to come forward and get themselves tested with the assurance that their names would be kept confidential.'

Quoting the UNAIDS/WHO report, the spokesperson said: 'It is estimated that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2005 nationwide was 5,600,000 men, 1,600,000 women and 100,000 children.'

Unprotected sex was responsible for 86% of the cases, prenatal transmission for 4%, blo
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