Prisoners turned out to be HI positive in jail. (signal picture)
A total of 85 inmates tested positive for HIV infection in Assam’s Nagaon Central Jail and Special Prison in September. An official of the Health Department gave this information. Superintendent of Nagaon BP Civil Hospital, Dr L C Nath told media persons here on Friday that out of 85 HIV infected, 45 are from Special Prison and 40 are from Central Jail in Nagaon. Dr Nath said that all of them got infected due to drug addiction. He said that the infection was confirmed in the Civil Hospital last month in the examination of 88 people, including four women.
According to sources in the Nagaon District Health Department, most of the HIV-infected prisoners are drug addicts. They used to use the same needle to take banned drugs, due to which they became victims of infection.
Anurag Goel, Principal Secretary, Health Department, had told that the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) found that from 2002 to June 2021, a total of 20085 HIV positives have been found in Assam. Kamrup (M) district has the highest number of 6,888, followed by Cachar with 4609 and Dibrugarh with 1245.
HIV infection more among jail inmates in Assam
He had told that due to index testing, high-risk group (HRG) has registered an increase in HIV cases in districts like Morigaon, Nagaon and Nalbari. Although there was no high risk in the aforesaid districts earlier. Cases of HIV have increased among prison inmates (especially injecting drug users). Index testing is done through contact tracing of partners with whom inmates engaged in high-risk behavior outside the prison. This has resulted in an increase in HIV cases and ASACS has taken the initiative to ensure that maximum testing is done so that those found to be HIV positive can be detected and treated early.
Let us tell you that in 2020, about three crore 80 lakh people are suffering from HIV worldwide. If an HIV infected person is left untreated, it can paralyze the immune system. There is a problem of accessibility associated with the treatment of HIV. Its medicines need to be taken everyday. A 2015 study estimated that the cost of lifelong antiretroviral therapy for a person infected with HIV at age 35 is $3,58,380 and many people do not have access to daily antiretroviral therapy.
Antiretroviral therapy can completely suppress HIV infection
Even though antiretroviral therapy can completely suppress HIV infection, it does not cure it. There is always a risk that the virus may mutate to develop resistance to existing drugs. Eliminating HIV completely from the body is one way to eliminate the need for daily antiretroviral therapy, but the strategy that can be adopted is to keep infected cells under control. The use of one type of medical method cannot completely get rid of HIV. The study team is currently testing a combination of other drugs to explore the full potential of the immune system and overcome barriers to treatment.
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