Bhubaneswar: AIDS has become one of the most dreaded diseases in the modern times and the whole world is concerned about the toll it is taking every day. Odisha is no exception. As per official report, 71 people died in AIDS in Odisha, during last one year. So far, 1311 AIDS cases have been registered in the State.

The Government report says, as many as 22,934 cases of HIV positive has been recorded so far. However, experts say that the said figure may cross 40 thousand. Many cases of HIV and AIDS are not reported in the State due to inadequate health infrastructure, lack of awareness and the social structure.

From the 1311 cases of AIDS registered in the State, maximum of 501 cases are reported from Ganjam district. It is in this district alone where 431 people had died in AIDS. Ganjam has become vulnerable to HIV and AIDS due to a number of cases including mass migration.

If we look deeper, the state of HIV in Odisha needs serious attention from all corners. According to the survey conducted by Odisha State AIDS Control Society between the year 2002 and 2011, a total of 14,242 males and 8,679 females have been reported with HIV positive. Among them 1538 cases belong to people below 14 years of age. Similarly, out of the total figure, 17,356 cases reported includes people with in the age limit of 25 to 49. This age group has proved to be most vulnerable to this dreaded global phenomenon. As per the study, 2,041 HIV positive cases belong to people within the age group of 14 to 24 and 1,006 people above 50 years have been listed to the syndrome. At least 958 cases of HIV positive is also recorded amongst pregnant women. These figures say about the alarming state of HIV in Odisha.

HIV is attributed to a number of causes and HIV through sexual transmission happen to be at the top of the list. In Odisha, in 82.69% HIV cases are transmitted through sexual mode. The number of HIV cases in this category has reached 18,695. Among them 12,316 are male and 6,649 are female. Sex with the HIV positive partner, sex with multiple partners and unsafe sex are the main reasons behind the situation, experts comment. Similarly, among other cases, when 217 people got HIV through blood transfusion, 477 cases attributed to infected needle. 1,483 children have been reported as HIV positive due to the ignorance of the parents.

When AIDS has spread its tentacles in the coastal districts like Ganjam and Jagatsinghpur its mark has also been felt in the backward districts like Malkanagiri. 158 cases of AIDS have been reported in the district which has taken 148 tolls among them. Similarly, in Boudh 71 AIDS patients have died out of 73 wherein this figure in Puri is 66 out of 73, in Kendrapada it is 73 out of 74, in Nayagarh it is 7 out of 8. In Keonjhar all 6 AIDS patients have died and in Dhenkanal and Bhadrak 1 HIDS cases each has been reported to be dead.

On the eve of World AIDS Day, it is time to review the real state of HIV and AIDS in Odisha visa vis our action and approach in Government and Non-Governmental level to curb the menace. Though Government is confident in saying that the cases of HIV have gone down, experts comment that it cannot be believed that our population is protected from the risk of HIV and AIDS. Poor infrastructure in health sector, especially in rural areas; lack of awareness among the folks, inadequate facilities across the State to detect HIV cases and large scale corruption in different awareness projects have created challenges towards controlling the disease in the State.