Agartala: Tripura AIDS Control Society (TACS) has launched a massive campaign to sensitize the elected representatives of urban and rural local bodies to fight against the increasing incidences of HIV among youngsters mostly due to injectable drugs (ID) users.
The TACS officials said an average of two persons have been found HIV positive each day in Tripura, which is not only alarming but also leading the state to a health crisis. The statistics revealed HIV was transmitted to over 98 percent of the infected population through injections in Tripura followed by unsafe sex and blood transmission.
“Tripura has become a hub of the drug suppliers among the school children, potential workforce and diverted the youngsters from creative activities and cultural events. This racket has been indulging the tender minds into crime and making the state hazardous for a decent living index,” said a senior health official of the state adding that the trends of drug use indicated soon Tripura will be equated with Mumbai and Imphal.
Addressing the first sensitization program of Councilors of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Thursday, TACS Project Director and State Surveillance Officer Dr. Deep Debbarma said in Agartala city the number of HIV cases was increasing alarmingly among injectable drug users. And, hotspots in each of the AMC Wards have been shared with the elected representatives seeking their intervention to manage the menace.
As of now, Tripura has 3096 AIDS patients so far brought under treatment and in April and May this year TACS identified 112 injectable drug users who were diagnosed HIV positive. The highest number of positive cases in the last four years were identified in 2021-22 at 1124 cases while the figure registered at 277 in April and May this year, Dr. Debbarma highlighted.
“Once North Tripura, bordering Mizoram and Assam, was the epicenter of HIV transmission but now West Tripura (Agartala and surroundings) became the top in the list followed by North Tripura and Dhalai districts. Most of the positive patients belong to the 16-24 years of age group, studying in schools and colleges,” he stated.
“Time has come to launch a united effort to break the drug supply chain to save the generation,” Dr. Debbarma said, adding that youths including females in half of AMC Wards are using injectable drugs. More than 500 people in and around Agartala have been identified as injectable drug users and a sizable number of them are detected HIV positive.