Written by Lahiru Fernando
07 Mar, 2016 | 10:00 pm
The latest data compiled by the National STD/AIDS Control Programme reveals that 40 HIV positive patients have been reported in Sri Lanka in January and February 2016.
The Human Immuno-Deficiencey Virus -also known as HIV- causes the disease AIDS for which there is still no permanent cure, although symptoms can be controlled through anti-retroviral drugs.
The National STD/AIDS Control Programme says there has been an increase in the number of AIDS patients in Sri Lanka. According to the Director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme Dr. Sisira Liyanage, among the forty HIV patients reported in the country so far in 2016, a majority are between the ages of 25 and 45. He added that there are also those who are between 15 and 25.
The Director of the National STD/AIDS control programme stated that currently there are 2500 HIV positive patients in Sri lanka. While 310 HIV positive patients were reported between 2000 and 2004, this figure increased to 582 between 2005 and 2009 and 649 from 2010 to 2013. In 2014 alone, 238 people were reported HIV positive. The figure increased to 309 in 2015.
Closer study of the statistics on the spread of the HIV virus in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 2014 shows that the majority of cases, numbering 1162, have been reported from the Western Province. Seven hundred and seven (707) cases were reported from the Colombo District while 362 and 93 cases were reported from the Gampaha and Kalutara Districts respectively. The North Western Province has the second highest number of HIV positive patients in this timeframe, numbering at 180.
The Uva province has the lowest concentration of AIDS patients with 46 cases.
What are the symptoms of AIDS?
According to Dr. Sisira Liyanage, a blood test needs to be conducted in order to detect patients who are HIV positive. If an HIV positive patient evades medication for many years, that persons would contract AIDS. It is only after they reach the AIDS status that they begin to show symptoms. Dr. Liyanage also requested the public to get themselves tested if they have engaged in any unsafe sexual activity.
Dr. Liyanage pointed out further that a person who is diagnosed as HIV positive, must not be ostracised in society. He also stated that 50% of patients who are HIV positive are unaware that they are in that condition.
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