“The state government apart from deciding to allocate separate budget is planning to fight AIDS on a war footing,” health minister R Lalthangliana informed experts during a review meeting on Thursday.
Lalthangliana also asked experts to help the state government in fighting the growing spread of HIV/AIDS keeping in mind the mentality, culture and ethos of the local populace.
The minister also expressed hope that the review meeting which involved the country’s top experts in the field will chalk out a better action plan that effectively curbs the spread of HIV in Mizoram.
Organised jointly by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Mizoram government, the two-day event concluded on Friday.
Mizoram, which shares porous borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, has the dubious distinction of being the highest HIV prevalent state in the country.
Records show at least 2.04 per cent of the total population of about 11 lakh are infected with HIV.
Manipur with 1.43 per cent of its total population being infected with HIV stands at second followed by Nagaland, while the national average is 0.2 per cent.
According to Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), nearly 2,000 people have died due to AIDS in Mizoram since the first case was detected in October 1990.
“Moreover, a total of 19,631 HIV cases have been detected in the state till date,” MSACS added.
They said that more than 67.21 per cent of HIV-positive cases were sexually transmitted, while about 28.12 per cent cases were transmitted through sharing needles by intravenous drug users.
Officials said that the HIV prevalence rate is “extremely alarming” and in 2018-2019 alone 2,557 new cases were reported with nine persons testing positive every day.
Analysis of the HIV-positive cases confirmed at the testing centres shows that people in the age group of 25-34 years are the most vulnerable in Mizoram, followed by those in the age brackets of 35-49 years and 15-24 years.