Madhya Pradesh
Ujjain gets first medical care unit for AIDS patients
Apr 7, 2008 - 2:34:58 PM

Bhopal, April 7 - A HIV community care centre has been set up to provide medical help to AIDS patients in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain town, the headquarters of a district that has the second highest number of such cases in the state.

Ujjain Chief Medical and Health Officer Dileep Nagar said the 10-bed medical centre, which was inaugurated last week, is a unit of Saathi, a facility providing support to HIV-positive people.

It was set up with help from Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust - in association with Kripa Welfare Society, an NGO, and the Madhya Pradesh State Aids Control Society -.

'It was badly required in a place like Ujjain which, with 351 patients, has the second highest number of AIDS cases in the state. Commercial capital Indore takes the lead with 564 cases,' Manish, who represents Ujjain's network of HIV-positive people, told IANS.

The network, with about 130 members, provides support and counselling for HIV-positive people across the state.

The number of AIDS affected people in the state, according to MPSACS figures, increased from one in 1988 to 2,382 by the end of 2007.

The figures compiled by the MPSACS reveal that 91.7 percent patients acquire the deadly virus through sexual transmission and two percent through blood transfusion.

'What is worrying is that AIDS is no longer confined to urban areas. I have patients from villages, even remote hamlets, where the disease has spread due to lack of awareness,' said a doctor.

The doctor claimed she had come across HIV patients from small towns like Khandwa, Khargone, Badwani and Shajapur.

'This is just the tip of the iceberg. Several cases, mainly from rural areas, go unreported in the state', says Prashant Malaiya, MPSACS deputy director.

NGOs working in Indore, Ujjain, Jabalpur, Rewa, Bhopal, Gwalior, Sagar, Hoshangabad and Morena, claim the number of AIDS victims in these districts is far higher than official figures.

Various surveys have pointed out that people between 31 and 40 form the largest group of HIV-affected people. They have also found that 72 percent of AIDS patients in Madhya Pradesh are men.

'The centre will go a long way in providing care to HIV-positive people. However, we need to sensitise more people, spread knowledge and dispel fear associated with HIV to fight the stigma attached to the disease,' said Unicef official Anil Gulati.

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