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Orissa found to be worst affected by the killer disease, AIDS

AIDS remains one of the significant problems haunting India over the past decade. The problem is particularly large in Orissa, which has recorded as many as 459 AIDS related deaths over the past three years. Out of 24,676 blood samples screened during the period between January//, 2002 and September, 2005, 2506 HIV positive cases were detected in the state. Furthermore, 641 persons were found to be full-blown AIDS cases and 459 deaths were reported during the same period.

The third phase of the National AIDS Control Programme will focus its attention on the targeted intervention for the high-risk groups in the state .More than 51 targeted intervention projects would be taken up this year according to latest health reports.

A survey conducted by the Operation Research Group -MARG , found 10, 11 and 9 nine districts as the highly vulnerable, medium vulnerable and low vulnerable respectively. Of all the districts, Ganjam has been found to be the worst-affected district and is closely followed by Kendrapara, Puri, Cuttack and Koraput.

Orissa State AIDS Control Society (OSACS) has undertaken targeted intervention programmes in the state for highly vulnerable populations. Presently, 10 targeted intervention projects are now being run by the NGOs in seven districts (Khurda, Rayagada, Angul, Jajpur, Ganjam, Puri and Cuttack) for commercial sex workers, truckers, migrant labourers, fisher folk community, jail inmates and slum women labour force.

It has been proposed to initiate another 26 targeted intervention projects in 23 districts during the year. National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has approved 15 new targeted intervention projects for the state, amounting to a total of 51 projects.

In addition, 150 new targeted intervention projects, 408 sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics, 65 licensed blood banks and 15 blood component separation units would be set up soon in the state. A number of counseling centers, test ing centers and community care centers would be set up in the state. Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) drugs are also being provided for the treatment of accidentally exposed doctors and other staff, he added. Migration, low literacy, poverty, urbanization, injectable drug users, unsafe sex practices and ignorance about the transmission of HIV/AIDS have been identified as major factors for the spread of the disease. Effective control of the disease in the state is expected to be curtailed by these new AIDS control measures to be implemented from 2006-2011.

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