Assam Health Minister Keshab Mahanta on Friday claimed that the state health department has stepped up measures to curb the rise in cases of HIV/AIDS.
Keshab Mahanta was replying to a query by Congress MLA Sibamani Bora on the issue in the assembly earlier today.
The health minister thanked the MLA for putting up the question and termed it as an important issue to be discussed.
Elaborating on the details, Mahanta said that there are a total of 52 Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centres across the state which are working towards the prevention and treatment of HIV infection.
Keshab Mahanta said, “The Assam Aids Control Society has been working towards the prevention of the HIV infection since its inception. Presently, in Assam there are 52 ART centres. Moreover, there are six Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) centres and 12 satellite OST centres which are also working continuously. Further, we have opened OST testing centres in all hospitals across the state.”
“Apart from this, we have opened 450 Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres (ICTC) for counselling purposes across hospitals and sub-centres in Assam. We have also set up testing centres in jails. So, in this way we have initiated many measures to restrict the spread of the infection,” he added.
According to the data presented by the health minister in the assembly, the number of HIV infections in the state has seen a sharp rise since 2002.
He said that a total of 31,729 people have been tested positive for HIV/AIDS between 2002 to 2023 out of the 89,84,519 people.
He also stated that 5,791 people have tested positive since December 2023 till date, the minister added.
Stressing on drug abuse, Keshab Mahanta said that it is a main reason for the rise in HIV infections.
Reportedly, the highest number of cases (8960) was reported in Kamrup Metro district since 2002 followed by Cachar (5823) and Nagaon (3049).