28 new HIV positive cases detected

19 put on Anti Retro Viral treatment

Health: The number of people infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has increased by 28 with the health ministry detecting at least five new HIV positive cases every month between July 1 and November 30 this year.

With 28 new HIV positives detected in 11 females and 17 males including a minor in the last five months, the total number of HIV cases detected since 1993 in the country today stands at 460.

A press release from the health ministry states that nine HIV positives are within the age group of 30-39 years while five are youth between 15- 24 years.

Sexual transmission accounted for 96 percent of the new cases and the remaining four percent acquired the infection through mother to child transmission. No transmission was reported through injecting drug use and blood transfusion during this period.

While 36 percent of the new cases were detected by tracing contacts, 32 percent were detected during medical screenings. Other cases were detected through voluntary counselling and testing, antenatal care and screening when donating blood.

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Going by the occupational background, eight of the new cases are private/business sector employees, seven are housewives, four are farmers; two drivers, two students/trainees and one cases each were detected in a civil servant, corporate employee, Arm Force, minor and an unemployed. Of the 460 detected so far, 354 are living with HIV/AIDS in the country, 20 live outside Bhutan and 86 have died.  Of the 20 positive people living outside Bhutan, 19 are non-Bhutanese expatriate workers. More than 47 percent of the people living with HIV are concentrated in Chukha and Thimphu.

Among the 239 people put on Anti Retro Viral treatment (ART), 29 had died while 210 are still continuing the treatment.

“Among the 28 new cases, 19 of them are eligible for treatment and are put on ART,” the press release stated. The CD4 count test, an important criterion for treatment for people living with HIV, for the remaining nine people are still in the process of follow-up and counselling.

As Bhutan joins the international community in showing solidarity and commitments on the World AIDS Day today, health minister Tandin Wangchuk in his message to the public stated that, despite the notable success that Bhutan has achieved, there are equal challenges in addressing the constraints related to HIV prevention among the key affected population groups and other vulnerable groups.

The day, this year is observed with the national theme ‘Seeking everyone’s shared responsibility to end AIDS epidemic by 2025’. This ambitious commitment calls for shared responsibilities from all walks of life in getting to zero through prevention of HIV/AIDS, extending support to those affected, and accelerating HIV counselling and testing services.

“As per the UNAIDS estimates, Bhutan still has a detection gap of about 59 percent from the total estimates cases of 1,100 and bridging this gap is crucial to meet our commitments,” lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said.

The press release stated that on the overall nature of epidemic, Bhutan still has low prevalence at 0.1 percent.

Nirmala Pokhrel

2 replies
  1. sibidai
    sibidai says:

    If the MoH data is correct then highest incident of HIV infection is among Housewives, Farmers, Private/Business (can’t say what this means?) and Armed forces.

    Does this mean Bhutanese housewives are involved with impunity in entertaining tourist? If so there could be a data breakdown to show the highest intensity around tourist spots. People like nga-drukgibu believe its spread by females living off tourism-based industries? I find this a little odd. Could anyone come up with data to show how many females (or even males) in tourism sector have been/are being treated for HIV infection or have died of HIV AIDS? May be that would give clearer picture.

    And then another question arises – are all our women folks living around tourist sites so promiscuous and do ply their trades openly? Or have they had to adopt this profession for economic reasons? Either way, its doesn’t speak good of the economy or the social fabric of the society.

    As housewives are the highest infected lot this only proves, husbands are spreading HIV and probably they get it through multiple partners. Besides, the tourist (paying $250/day) who flock to Bhutan do not necessarily fall in the promiscuous segment. And to blame them for infecting and spreading HIV in Bhutan is akin to wanting to ban foreigners because we fail to identify the rot within us.

  2. nga-drukgibu
    nga-drukgibu says:

    Bhutanese Girls -VS-Foreigner (AIDs- VS- Money)

    Dear Friends,
    DURING THE WORLD AIDS DAY, we would like to take this opportunity to share our concern that, It is very sad to observe that due to poor economic background most of our Bhutanese girls are left with no option but to accept the offer from foreigners that might lead to damage the image of this beautiful country and taking high risk to spread AIDS in the society. Our Bhutanese girls are visiting the room of those tourists who are offering few thousands of money to entertain them. We feel pity on our girls but I guess it is also the responsibility of every Bhutanese citizen to protect our innocent girls from such business activities.
    Therefore, we would like to suggest the concern authorities to take such precaution and monitor all the hotels for not to allow any Bhutanese girls to visit the room of any guests, so that somehow it will reduce such business activities and help the society at large.
    Looking forward for strict compliance by the concern authorities.

    Drukgi-Bu

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