HIV/AIDS patients shun clinics due to treatment as social outcasts
January 3, 2018 04:06 pm
The Director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Dr. Sisira Liyanage, says that around 280 new HIV cases were reported last year out of which 220 were male patients.
He said that the majority of those male HIV patients had engaged in same-sex relationships.
The director said they intend to increase the number of tests being carried out to identify HIV patients and that so far it has been estimated that around 4,000 HIV patients are currently in the country. He said that tests should be carried out to identify these patients.
Dr. Liyanage stated that a majority of the HIV patients in the country are between the ages 25 – 45 and that there are also several cases of child patients.
He stated that those engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse should be subjected tests and that women engaged in prostitution, gay and bisexual men and those who abuse illicit drugs should definitely be subjected to these tests.
Meanwhile he said that the blood samples of every pregnant mother attending clinics are currently being checked and in addition to this blood samples of blood donors are being tested for HIV.
The director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme further said that various steps have been implemented in order to curb the spread of the virus including the education of such susceptive individuals and distributing of condoms.
However, he lamented that only around 50% of such individuals actually use condoms.
Dr. Liyanage pointed out that HIV patients are reluctant to visit clinics due to them being treated as outcasts by society and that this needs to stop immediately.
He stated that in order to achieve the target of eradicating HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka by 2025, society has to stop treating such patients as outcasts.