ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has an estimated 3,700 cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which is being spread especially among younger persons who have no knowledge of safe sexual practices, doctors said.
About 1,000 HIV infected persons believed to be in society who are unaware of their disease status.
Doctors said infected persons should not be stigmatized or discriminated against.
Only 60 percent of the patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are being treated, lack of sexual education is the main reason for the disease spreading, health officials said.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Rasanjali Hettiarachchi, Director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme on the worlds’ AIDS day said the patients have increased and it seems to be spreading ost among younger demographics.
According to the data of National STD/AIDS Control Programme, in 2021, health officials have identified 148 cases with 25 cases in the age of 15-24 years of age.
For the first two quarters 19 deaths have occurred due to HIV.
“Our data has shown that in the last five years, there is an increase of HIV patients in the 15-24 years old population,” Hettiarachchi said in an interview by Sri Lanka’s privately owned Derana television.
Hettiarachchi said, lack of sexual education and unsafe intercourse practices are the main reasons for the spread of the disease.
“It is important to provide the sexual education for the young population. Around 90 percent of the time unprotected intercourse is the reason for HIV,” Hettiarachchi said.
Doctors said having sex with strangers and multiple partners should be avoided.
Sri Lanka has identified 4142 cases and 584 have died from AIDS.
She said currently only 60 percent of the total number of patients taking medications for HIV while the other 40 percent is in the community living maybe without knowing that they have HV.
Iresh Jayaweera, a doctor with the HIV control program said 3,700 cases were believed to be in Sri Lanka and about 1,000 were unaware whether they had the disease.
“It is now very easy to do a blood test at our clinics,” Jayaweera told Sri Lanka’s Siyatha television. “There is also a saliva self-test that is now becoming available.
National STD/AIDS Control Programmes www.know4sure.lk website or telephone numbers 070 363 3533 and 0112 667163 could be used to get a test. (Colombo/ Dec 01/2021)