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HIV, TB CASES DIP AMONG VULNERABLE SECTIONS

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Trichy: Despite being considered ‘vulnerable groups’ for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, no new cases have been reported in the recent detection drive conducted by the health department at prisons, oldage homes, rescue and rehabilitation shelters and orphanages in the district.

As part of the national initiative, the state government in September had launched detection survey-  HIV and TB Intervention in Prisons and other closed settings in Tamil Nadu – for people who fall under vulnerable groups for the two diseases.

The detection drive started in Trichy on November 19 and got over on December 1. A total of 1,760 people were covered in the drive including 1,195 from the Trichy central prison and special prison for women and 565 people from orphanages, rescue and rehabilitation shelters and old-age homes, that were zeroed in for the programme.

Deputy director of medical services, TB control, Dr S Savithri told TOI that all people with symptoms of tuberculosis were tested during the programme. A total of 115 sputum samples were collected. “We utilised this opportunity to cover the vulnerable groups and no one tested positive for TB. Early intervention is an absolute must for efficient treatment of TB,” she said.

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Though there were no new TB cases at the prisons, there were a handful of existing TB patients and they were being provided treatment. No existing TB cases were reported in other closed settings and state-run homes.

While less prevalence of TB among people detected recently might seem to be positive news, according to health officials, prevalence is still high in Trichy city, Manachanallur, Thuvakudi and Thiruverumbur. So far, this year around 2,800 people were said to have received treatment for treatment in the whole district.

On the other hand, all adults among the covered population were made to undergo the HIV/AIDS test. “Unlike TB, HIV/ AIDS does not show early symptoms. In some cases, it may take seven to ten years for symptoms to show. That’s why all the adults were tested,” District Aids Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU), S Martin Manivannan said. Though there were no new cases, around seven to 10 HIV/ AIDS patients were inmates at the prisons and none in the other closed settings.

Manivannan said that no positive HIV/ AIDS cases was evidence for how much the disease has decreased in Trichy. “Compared to the prevalence rate of 1.91% in 2011, the prevalence is just 0.37% now. Detection drives like the recent ones show how much AIDS has been curbed in the district,” he said.

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