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Jharsuguda AIDS Cases Rise, Many Avoid Government Assistance

Jharsuguda: The number of AIDS cases in the industrial district of Jharsuguda is steadily increasing. Since 2002, a total of 514 people have been diagnosed with AIDS in the district. While there is a provision of a Rs 500 per month allowance under the Madhubabu Pension Yojana for all affected persons, only 56 percent, or 288 affected people, are receiving this allowance. The remaining 44 percent are not receiving any government assistance.

According to the AIDS Department of the Jharsuguda District Health Department, many infected people are hesitant to participate in the scheme due to fear of social stigma.

Out of the 514 infected individuals, 14 are transgender, 354 are men, 98 are women, and 48 are pregnant. While 54 patients have been connected to an ART centre, 54 others are reluctant to go. Currently, 272 patients are receiving medication from the ART center. A total of 106 infected people have moved to other states, while 77 have died. The district health department has emphasised that the majority of deaths are among those who are reluctant to visit the ART centre and do not take regular medication.

In 2020, 29 people were diagnosed with AIDS in the district, followed by 40 in 2021, 47 in 2022, and 20 so far this year. Six cases have been detected in Jharsuguda Jail, and students from some colleges are also among those affected.

A large number of people who come to work in the industrial and mining fields live among these outbreaks. In Jharsuguda district, the rate of HIV testing is very low due to a lack of interest from various industries. So far, only 43 percent of the cases have been detected in Jharsuguda district. However, this number is likely to double if 100 percent of the testing is done.

In addition to AIDS, the incidence of syphilis, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), is also quite high in the district. From 2008 to date, 12,324 people were tested for syphilis in the district, and 632 were diagnosed. Among those diagnosed, 424 are men, 125 are women, 19 are third genders, and 64 are pregnant women. The district health department has expressed concern that the number of young people affected by these outbreaks is particularly high.

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