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HIV on the rise among addicts.

THERE HAS been a consistent increase in injecting drug users ( IDU) being tested positive for HIV over the last five years in Delhi primarily as volunteers from several NGOs, who carry out awareness programmes, have have exited working with the government as their workers could not be paid.

" Our eight months long pending salaries have been paid to us last week. For the last eight months, we did not have any funds to run the programme or carry out any awareness exercise among the groups. There was no peer led intervention," said Francis Joseph, chairman of Delhi Drug Users, an NGO. While transgender, men having sex with men ( MSM), female sex workers, truck drivers are also included in the high risk category, injecting drug users ( IDU) comprise 20 per cent of the affected people.

In 2010- 2011, as many as 18.27 per cent IDUs were tested positive for HIV while in 2014- 2015, the figure rose to 21.8 per cent.

" Sexual route still remains the most common way among the general population for getting HIV. But among high risk group, IDU have the highest prevalence of HIV infection. Almost 20 per cent of the affected people falls under this category," said Dr Praveen Kumar, additional project director, Delhi State AIDS control society ( DSACS).

The DSACS works in coordination with several NGOs who helps in various intervention programmes run by the society.

" Fresh syringe is a must for IDUs. People often use old or used syringes which not only cause HIV but also Hepatitis- C. With the lack of funds and no salaries, the workers are also not motivated to work. The entire purpose of the plan gets defeated," Joseph added.

As many as 4,03,014 HIV tests were carried out on general population out of which 6,334 detected positive for the same. Also, during 2015- 16, a total of 2,31,027 HIV tests were carried out on pregnant women.

There has been a consistent increase in injecting drug users being tested positive for HIV over the last five years in Delhi

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 18, 2016
Words:362
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