Health: With 23 new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive cases detected in 13 males and 10 females including a minor since June this year, the total number of HIV cases detected this year stands at 55.

About 78 percent are between the ages of 20 and 49, 17 percent above 50 years and the rest below five years of age.

According to the health ministry’s epidemic update report released on November 20, Of the new cases, nine are detected through voluntary counseling and testing, seven while undergoing medical screening, five through contact tracing and two during antenatal care visits.

The health minister Tandin Wangchuk said that there is no need to get alarmed. The increase in number of HIV cases detected over the period is an indication that people understand the importance of HIV testing. “The number is more likely to increase as the health ministry further intensifies its HIV testing program to bridge the case detection gap by 2020,” Lyonpo said.

About 96 percent of cases were transmitted through heterosexual sex while the rest is through mother to child transmission.

The total number of HIV cases detected since 1993 in the country today stands at 515.

This year the world AIDS Day will be observed at the Clock Tower Square in Thimphu on December 1, where the health ministry will organise a temporary testing camp.

Dechen Tshomo