Meghalaya vulnerable to HIV/AIDS: MACS

Shillong: The Meghalaya Aids Control Society today said the state was vulnerable to HIV/AIDS with the number of patients increasing among the high risk groups but prevalence of the disease was comparatively low.

"All districts of Meghalaya are categorised as `C`. This means there is less than one per cent ANC (antenatal clinic) prevalence in all sites during the past three years, but less than five per cent in all high risk groups surveillance sites," MACS Project Director S Laloo said.

Migrants, truckers and aggregation of factory workers in the mineral-rich state constituted the high risk group. "Meghalaya is a low prevalence but vulnerable state," she said while speaking at the state level convention of faith-based organisation on HIV/AIDS here.

Laloo said, "In 2010 there were 224 positive patients. In April-December 2011, 22 more patients were tested positive, out of 8483 persons who were tested." What was worrying health officials was that tuberculosis has been the most common infection among HIV infected individuals which also resulted in deaths, she said.

In Meghalaya, Shillong Civil Hospital is the only treatment centre (anti-retroviral treatment) which was functional since 2006. "339 male and 335 female patients were registered so far at the hospital," Laloo said.