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District-wise action plan to tackle AIDS in AP

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Dec 6

THE State Government has instructed all district collectors to prepare comprehensive district-wise plans on HIV prevention, treatment and care programmes involving volunteers and other service agencies.

The State Minister for Finance and Health, Mr K. Rosaiah, said the Government is also working out an action plan for implementation and the State health department expects this would contain and help reverse this epidemic.

Mr Rosaiah to the State Legislative Assembly today that since HIV/AIDS poses a challenge to the future of the State, the Government believes that each citizen in the State must share the responsibility of combating this problem.

In a statement he said that HIV poses a serious threat to development of the State. Andhra Pradesh is one of the high prevalence States and has the highest rate - estimated at 2 per cent in the general adult population. This has assumed the proportion of a generalised epidemic in the State.

Giving details as to how people are getting affected, Mr Rosaiah said that 88 per cent of the infections in the State are through sexual route and 92 per cent are in the age group of 15 to 49 years. Since these are in the economically productive group of population, HIV has severe economic repercussions.

However, there are trends to show that there are a few high prevalence districts that need greater attention. In 18 out of the 23 districts, at least 1 per cent of women attending antenatal clinics in the urban areas tested positive in 2004.

As a part of the State's strategy to tackle this issue, Andhra Pradesh plans to address the core groups of sex workers, truckers, homosexuals, migrant population, prison inmates among others through 110 targeted interventions or projects and 85 sexually transmitted disease clinics.

The Government plans to take up a HIV awareness campaign through house visits by the Aasha volunteers during February 2006 that would seek to cover this group of people in 15 to 49 years age.

As a part of the awareness programme, the Government had also involved the film industry and its representatives. Hollywood star Richard Gere participated in this campaign.

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