Local Goa News

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bardez sees rise in HIV cases

MAPUSA: Bardez taluka has been seeing a rise in HIV cases in the last few years. Latest figures with the State AIDS Control Society records 18.4 per cent of HIV cases in the taluka, even as officials have claimed that fewer locals are diagnosed with the disease in comparison to migrants.

According to recently released figures by the GSACS, HIV infection is now prevalent in all parts of Goa, and majority of the cases are reported in 2015 in the four coastal talukas – Salcete (14.7 per cent), Mormugao (16.9 per cent) in South Goa district and Tiswadi (11.0 per cent) and Bardez (18.4 per cent) in North Goa district.
Experts working in the field have claimed that more than 95 per cent of the cases are transmitted through unsafe sex. Transmission through blood and blood products, infected syringes and needles is negligible in Goa.
This year till April 2016 around 136 HIV cases were detected in the state, out of which 129 were found to be transmitted through sexual route while in seven cases the virus was transmitted from parents to children.
Till April 2016, Bardez topped the chart with 18.4 per cent which was followed by Mormugao (16.9 per cent) and Salcete with 14.7 per cent.
Bardez has been at the top position among all talukas in the last few months. In 2012, the taluka had recorded 16.2 per cent HIV cases in the state which came down to 14.9 per cent in 2013. It again went up to 15.4 per cent in 2014 and came down by almost 4 per cent in 2015.
But in just first four months of 2016 the cases increased by almost 9 per cent.
Most of the HIV cases were transmitted through sexual contact, and commercial sex trade in coastal areas is the main culprit.
However, GSACS project director Dr Jose D’Sa opined that we can’t jump to conclusion by looking at figures only.
“Figures fluctuate every time, as sometimes Bardez records highest number of cases while in the next month some other taluka like Mormugao or Tiswadi. Hence it is very difficult to arrive at any conclusion with the figures… Figures speak only about those people who visit various centres and check for HIV test…,” Dr D’Sa said.
Dr Sheryl D’Souza, in-charge at ICTC centre of the district hospital, Peddem, said the district hospital usually gets HIV cases mostly from migrants, who have settled in the state in the last few months or years. HIV cases from locals are hardly reported.
NGOs working in the field attributed the rise in HIV cases in Bardez to floating population and prostitution in the coastal belt of taluka.
Oswald Vaz, a counselor with the Anjuna-based Kripa Foundation, said the rise in HIV cases could be due to narcotic menace and prostitution in the area.
Sunita Salgaokar of Positive People ruled out HIV transmission in the taluka through used syringes as people are aware of dangers of reusing a syringe.
Sofia Heredia, founder member of Rishta, an NGO, said that there has been decline in HIV cases, and that the rise in the cases in Bardez could be due to “floating population of tourists”.
“The possible increase could be due to floating population because numbers of people come to the state during tourist season is high,” she said, adding that usually locals prefer private doctors for checkup and government hospitals are frequented by migrants.

NT Network Goa News

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