India’s most innovative city, known throughout the world for its ingenuity — is making news for all the wrong reasons. The number of suspected and confirmed HIV positive cases here has puts the city into a category that can be classified as the one facing an “HIV epidemic”. The first-ever survey conducted to ascertain the extent of HIV infection in the region puts the city high up in the list. The exact position will however be known after the results of the survey are tabulated later this month.
Investigations by The Tribune have revealed that free exchange of needles by drugs users and unabated prostitution in more than half a dozen localities has accelerated the spread of the disease. Apart from industrial workers, many migrant workers visiting these CSWs have tested positive.
The situation can be gauged from the fact that out of 48 blood samples taken from IDUs in Ludhiana, 16 have tested positive. As per NACO and UNAIDS guidelines, in random sampling if more than 5 per cent cases are reported in the high-risk category and over 1 per cent in general population the situation can be termed as an epidemic. According to unofficial results, Ludhiana is heading to be the first city in the state to achieve this dubious distinction.
Excerpted from http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20061121/main6.htm