Doctors Sound Alarm on Number of HIV/AIDS Orphans in India's Northeast
July 5, 2005
An increasing number of AIDS orphans in India's northeast alarms doctors because there is little provision for the children's care. "HIV/AIDS has assumed frightening proportions" with the number of orphaned children escalating, said P. Vanlalmuana, a doctor who heads the Society for HIV/AIDS and Lifeline Operation (SHALOM), a community health group in Manipur. The Manipur government is working to prevent mother-to-child transmission through testing and treatment but does not have any concrete plans yet to assist AIDS orphans. "We don't have any provision to rehabilitate orphaned children," said Promode Kumar, deputy head of the Manipur AIDS Control Society. "We'll have to do something soon."
AIDS activist S.I. Ahmed said needle sharing among drug users is responsible for much of the rapid spread of the virus. India's northeast region lies on the edge of the heroin-producing "golden Triangle" of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. Estimates put the number of IV drug users in the seven-state region at 300,000, nearly one in three of whom are believed to have HIV/AIDS.
In addition to AIDS orphans, the northeast has a number of children with HIV/AIDS. "At least 1.5 to 2.0 percent of the total AIDS cases in Manipur are children who have acquired HIV from their mothers," said a government health official requesting anonymity.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.