GUWAHATI, October 12: With nine positive cases of HIV-AIDS being reported in Mizoram every day, the state’s Chief Minister Zoramthanga has made a clarion call to fight the menace.
The land-locked and Christian-majority Mizoram, which shares porous borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, has the dubious distinction of being the highest HIV prevalent state in the country.
Zoramthanga said the prevailing status of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state was “alarming”.
“The present situation is indeed alarming. We all must work towards creating awareness on the disease and its treatment and prevention,” he said kicking off an HIV/AIDS sensitization campaign in state capital Aizawl on Friday.
At 2.04%, Mizoram recorded the highest HIV prevalence rate in the country. It is followed by Manipur (1.43%) and Nagaland (1.15%).
According to latest figures received from Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), nine new cases of HIV positive are detected all over the state every day at the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTCs) against 25 working days in a month.
“We have 44 standalone ICTCs across the state where diagnosis of HIV positive can be confirmed,” Dr. Lalthlengliani, project director of MSACS, told this newspaper.
The first HIV positive case in the state was recorded in 1990 and Dr. Lalthlengliani said a total of 19,631 such cases had been detected in the state till date. An estimated 2,000 people have died of the disease in the state so far.
The heterosexual route is the commonest route of transmission of HIV positive cases. It was recorded at 66.08%. The use of needles and syringes accounts for 28.16% of transmission. Parent to child transmission is 2.96% while homosexual/bisexual transmission is 1.03%. The remaining 1.77% transmission is not specified.
“The HIV/AIDS prevalence in Mizoram is 42.38% among people in the age group of 25-34 years, 26.46% in the age group of 35-49 years and 23.03% in the age group of 15-24 years,” Dr. Lalthlengliani said.
Most drug users in Mizoram use pseudoephedrine pills which are otherwise a cure for nasal and lung congestion. The drug barons often smuggle the pills into the Golden Triangle (areas in Myanmar, Laos and Thailand notorious for drug production) where they are processed and turned into methamphetamine (meth) or ‘party drug’. The meth is then redirected into Mizoram.
In the ‘dry’ state – liquor is banned – heroin and cannabis addiction was high until meth butted in a few years ago. (Courtesy: TNIE)