AIZAWL, Nov 14 - Mizoram Health Minister Dr R Lalthangliana today gave a clarion call to combat HIV/AIDS on a war footing. During a meeting with leaders of the central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) at his office, Dr Lalthangliana expressed grave concern over high prevalence of HIV in Mizoram.
“The latest data shows Mizoram having the highest HIV prevalence in the country, which is alarming. We all must work towards creating awareness about the disease, its treatment and prevention,” he said.
Dr Lalthangliana hoped that the YMA, which has units across the State, would effectively fight against the spread of the virus.
Officials of the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society, who also attended the meeting, placed several proposals, which would also involve the YMA. The proposals include carrying out an extensive awareness campaign during social gatherings, harm reduction programmes and detection of HIV-positive persons who refuse to take ART treatment, among others.
With 2.04 per cent, Mizoram recorded the highest HIV prevalence rate in the country, followed by Manipur (1.43 per cent) and Nagaland (1.15 per cent).
According to the latest figures from the Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), nine new HIV-positive cases are detected in the State every day at the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs).
Dr Lalthlengliani, MSACS project director, said there are 44 standalone ICTCs across the State where HIV can be diagnosed. The first HIV-positive case in the State was recorded in 1990 and a total of 19,631 such cases have been detected till date, she said. An estimated 2,000 people have died of the disease in Mizoram so far.
Unprotected sex is the most common mode of transmission of HIV virus in Mizoram, which was recorded at 66.08 per cent. Reuse of needles and syringes accounts for 28.16 per cent transmissions. Parent-to-child transmission is 2.96 per cent, while homosexual/bisexual transmission is 1.03 per cent. The remaining 1.77 per cent transmissions are not specified.