Thursday, November 29, 2007

New AIDS map shows hot zones spread over 20 states, 163 dists

Toufiq Rashid

DISTRICTWISE BREAKUP: Delhi, Bihar, Haryana, UP among new entrants

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 27: Contrary to conventional wisdom that high prevalence of HIV/AIDS is restricted to southern states and some places in the North-East, a new classification done by the National AIDS Control Programme (NACO) shows that the disease is spread across as many as 20 states in 163 districts.

These 163 districts have been categorised as “A districts” in the third phase of the NACO Programme beginning April 1, 2007: districts where more than 1% of the general population and more than 5% of the high-risk group is infected with the virus. Experts say this means these districts have crossed the “epidemic threshold” for the disease.

While the highest number of these A districts are, predictably, in states like Andhra Pradesh (21 of 25 districts fall in this category), Karnataka (24 of 27), Maharashtra (30 of 36), the surprise entrants are: New Delhi; eight districts in Bihar (including Purnia, West & East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and Kishanganj); five in Uttar Pradesh (Etah, Etawah, Latehar, Banda and Balrampur); five in Madhya Pradesh, including Jabalpur and Bhopal; Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab, Jhalawar and Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Jhajjar in Haryana.

Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Assam are the only states which don’t have “A districts.”

“The classification of the 611 districts is made on the basis of epidemiology risk and vulnerability and is based on annual sentinel surveillance. We will follow this classification for making districtwise prevention and control programmes,’’ said Sujatha Rao, NACO’s Director General.

According to the new classification, instead of having one AIDS control programme for all states, NACO has estimated districtwise prevalence to finetune strategies. So while A districts are the hot zone, 59 fall in the B category: those with less than 1% prevalence in general population and 5% in high-risk groups.

Category C, with 278 districts, has less than 1% prevalence in general population and less than 5% in the high-risk group.

D category districts are “the safe districts” where prevalence in the general population is 0.25% — 111 fall in this category.

“Now that we know the vulnerability and actual problem in the district, each of the 611 districts in the country will have a link worker for HIV who will be responsible for implementing the programme at the district level,’’ said Rao.



Peter F. Borges

Programme Manager, HIV/AIDS