Alarming rise in HIV cases in far west

Himalayan News Service

Mahendranagar, June 8:

A recent study has revealed that the western Nepal is worst hit by HIV/AIDS. And experts say this is mostly because of the increasing number of migrant workers from Nepal and India who frequently cross the porous open border that the two nations share. Dr Subhesh Raj Kayastha, who has been working in Mahendranagar for the last 13 years, disclosed that at present it has been estimated that there are around some 500 HIV positive suspects.

The first AIDS patient in the region was discovered in Mahendranagar in July 1993. And according to recent statistics, some 129 persons have been diagnosed with the disease by the first week of June this year, Dr Kayastha disclosed. In the first year of the establishment of Acquired Immuno Defeciency Syndrome counselling centre at the Mahakali Zonal Hospital (MZH), some 28 people were found to be affected from AIDS.

Of them 13 were men and 15 were women. Dr Kayashta said the men who stayed for a long time in India were responsible for the spread of the disease in the area. Tests carried out Mahakali Zonal Hospital showed all of the people diagnosed with HIV infection were migrant workers, their wives and young children. Every month four to six new suspects carrying HIV are found in the region. Dr Kayastha warned that if the problem is not dealt with immediately, the concequence would be disastrous to society and to the nation as a whole. He pointed towards the need to raising awareness and expansion of industrial areas within Nepal to increase employment opportunities to tackle the problem. Dr Kayastha informed that Mahendranagar had 10 patients, the highest number, with TB and HIV during a test conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) among 200 TB patients tested from areas like Biratnagar, Pokhara, Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar. Likewise, another organisation the Nepal Sexual Disease Research Centre, (NSDRC), Nepalgunj agreed to the fact that HIV/AIDS was really spreading at an alarming rate in the far western region of Nepal.