HIV infections in Bangladesh up 28 percent in 2014

HIV infections in Bangladesh up 28 percent in 2014

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Hiv infection rate has increased by 28 percent this year 2014 over that of the year before, according to statistics released by the government on Monday.
Unaids estimates that only one-third of the HIV infected cases are coming to light. Lack of adequate testing and treatment facilities mean two-thirds of the estimated people living with HIV in Bangladesh are unaware of their HIV status.New government figures released on Monday, World AIDS Day, showed that new HIV infections this year was 433, which was 370 last year and 338 in 2012. The death caused by aids induced ailments was 91 this year.
With the latest figure, the government recorded people living with HIV stood at 3,674 since the detection of the first case in 1989. Of them, 563 died of AIDS related complications.
Line Director of the National AIDS/STD Programme (NASP) Dr Husain Sarwar Khan cited a number of factors for the rising number of HIV cases.
“The population is increasing. Migration is a factor. We could not increase the coverage of condom use in sex with sex workers. So the number is gradually increasing,” he told journalists
Unaids says, in Bangladesh, the estimated new infections had increased by 25 percent from 2001 to 2012, though the reported new cases has risen by about 1.5 times over the past five years.
Habiba Akter, President of the Network for the People living with HIV (PLHIV), told bdnews24.com that “we lack testing facilities. We don’t have sufficient facilities”.
She said the number would go up if key population segments like sex workers, gays, intravenous drug users, and transgender were more thoroughly checked.
The government arrived at the tally by collecting the data from testing centres and organisations working on HIV.
“We (organisations work with HIV infections) provided the government this number. But everybody is not coming to us. We have not been able to bring all under the testing and treatment coverage,” she said.
“We cannot treat people, if they don’t know their HIV status,” she said. “They can silently spread the virus”.
The Unaids suggested using new technologies and mixed models of community-based testing to supplement the current ways of testing – using whole blood, finger prick testing that anyone can do at home, and using the easy saliva testing method.
It also urged to use the existing reproductive, maternal and child health centres and TB treatment units for extending HIV services.
Encouraging people to undergo tests every time they go to health facilities and bolstering work among key populations can be a way to change the situation in Bangladesh.
The HIV testing in Bangladesh among the key populations is the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region.
Unaids also suggests putting in place strategies focusing on prevention, treatment and care for adolescents and young people infected and affected by HIV.
It also calls for prioritization of geographical regions where most of the people with HIV and key populations live, migration safe, and end to sexual and gender violence.
It also stresses that people with HIV get “continuum of prevention, treatment care and support” so that they are treated for their other diseases apart from getting antiretroviral drugs.
Bangladesh has started its HIV response programme in 1996 among the key populations.
This has kept the prevalence low in the general population to less than 0.1 percent, though it is higher among the key populations.
The Network’s President Akhter said the percentage of HIV cases was the highest among migrant workers. News Desk with agencies

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