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HIV/AIDS situation in North-East India

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in north-eastern states is becoming heterosexual in nature.It is an ominous sign for India's AIDS control programme.Experts from NACO have evidences of intravenous drug-users in the north-eastern states infecting their partners with HIV by having unprotected sex.Nagaland has already reported such a trend.

India is home to nearly two lakhs IDUs.of these over 50,800 people are from Nagaland,Manipur,Mizoram and Meghalaya.Over 20% of them are HIV+ solely due to sharing of contaminated needles.The situation is really threatening as now IDUs are indulging in high risk behaviour.Manipur may soon follow.NACO experts said another worry was the large number of IDUs living in non-classical states like Orissa,West-bengal and Punjab.The MSM population in India had started to swell.

At present thatpopulation is estimated to be 2.5 million.They indulge in very high -risk behaviour.Under India's $ 2.5 billion NACP-III NACO will try to work with this community.NACO will increase the number of interventions meant for the MSM community from 30 at present to 232 in the next five years.Studies have found HIV infection rates as high as 16% in MSMs in India.Data in Asia show that without interventions MSM will become one ofthe main sources of new HIV infections in the region.

IUDS will officially be given bupernorphin and syringes from the government.While clean syringes will help reduce the risk of addicts getting infected with HIV through sharing needles,bupernorphin will help them get over hard substances like heroin and cocaine.First addicts will be asked to exchange their syringes with safe needles.They will then be put under the 6-9 month long OST programme.This strategy has worked very well for China,US,Holland,Germany and Australia.

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