English | Dzongkha Thursday, November 21, 2019

22 new HIV cases detected in last six months

Nov 30, 2017

Twenty two more people have tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from June to November this year. This takes the total number of people detected with HIV so far this year to 55.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Health, of the 22 new cases, 10 are male and 12 female, with housewives and farmers topping the list. Others are drivers (14 per cent), civil servants (9 per cent) and unemployed (5 per cent). Ninety five per cent of them are in the 20-49 age group, while the remaining 5 per cent are aged 50 and above.

The cases were detected through medical screening, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), Antenatal Care (ANC), contact tracing and mobile screening.  Unprotected sex was found to be the main mode of transmission for the majority of the new cases detected.

The first case of HIV in Bhutan was detected in 1993. Since then, 570 cases- 294 male and 276 female- were detected. Records with the health ministry show that the majority of men detected with HIV so far were, at the time of detection, within the age range of 30-40, while women were aged 15 to 29. This, the ministry says shows women are more vulnerable to HIV at a younger age than men.

As per the UN AIDS estimation, Bhutan is expected to detect 1,100 cases. With only 570 cases detected so far, health ministry says Bhutan has a case detection gap of 48 per cent to achieve.

The ministry, therefore, urges the public to come forward to avail HIV testing and counseling services as early detection is crucial for initiation of care, treatment, support, and to prevent further transmission of the virus.

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