The prevalence rate of HIV is alarmingly high in Nagaland with 20,000 plus HIV positive cases recorded.
This was disclosed by principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department of the State Government, Himato Zhimomi on Tuesday.
Zhimomi was speaking at the state consultation on HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 for finalization of the state-specific rule in Kohima.
He said though 20,000 plus HIV positive cases have been recorded, only about 7000 are availing ART (antiretroviral therapy) and ARV (antiretroviral) drugs.
Why people are not availing the treatment need to be found out, he stressed.
“If there is something lacking from the side of the government please come forward today. It is the perfect time for you to point out what is lacking with National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) or Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS ) so that we can ensure 100 per cent voluntary compliance from the affected people,” Zhimomi stated.
He pointed out that more than 90 per cent HIV transmission is through the sexual route which is specific to Nagaland.
“If the disease is passed on knowingly then it has to be looked into,” he said.
Zhimomi said the workshop has to come out with some measures even following the realm of the moral sphere and on how to ensure that ‘we have an HIV-free society in the next 10 years’.
Speaking to the Network of Naga People living with HIV/AIDS, Zhimomi said, “Any one of us could be afflicted we understand that. And we want you to be equal partners in our State. Come forward and seek treatment and also claim your legitimate rights this is what the HIV Act is about.”
Consultant (Information, Education and Communication and Mainstreaming), NACO, Garima Sharma spoke on the HIV (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017.
She drew attention to disclosure of HIV status, ART and opportunistic management for people living with HIV, welfare measures by the Central and State governments, appointment of ombudsmen etc.
Member Secretary, Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA), Mezivolu T Therie said the programme has been organized to bring all the stakeholders together to understand the importance of the Act and work more cohesively towards prevention and control of HIV and AIDS and also for the protection of human rights of the HIV positive people.
Therie said the NSLSA is committed to giving its full support in prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and also in protecting the rights of the victims.
She said participation of village institutions, educational institutions, churches and local bodies in Nagaland are necessary to make all work possible and successful.
Representatives from Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Naga Mothers Association, Naga Students Federation, government departments, district administration and other NGOs attended the workshop organised by NSACS in collaboration with NACO, FHI360 and KRIPA Foundation