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Tripura's silent battle against HIV among students

One of the primary drivers is the accessibility and usage of injectable drugs. According to TSACS, students from as many as 220 schools and 24 colleges and universities have been identified as users of intravenous drugs. The picture painted by these statistics is dire: children, often from affluent families, fall into the trap of drug addiction, with devastating consequences. The failure of parents and the community to address this issue timely has allowed the crisis to spiral out of control.

News Arena Network - Agartala - UPDATED: July 11, 2024, 08:10 AM - 3 mins read

A recent report by the Tripura State AIDS Control Society (TSACS) has cast a harsh spotlight on a deeply concerning issue: over the past 17 years, more than 800 students in the state have been infected with HIV, with 47 tragically losing their lives.

Tripura's silent battle against HIV among students


A recent report by the Tripura State AIDS Control Society (TSACS) has cast a harsh spotlight on a deeply concerning issue: over the past 17 years, more than 800 students in the state have been infected with HIV, with 47 tragically losing their lives.

 

While the government has clarified that these figures span nearly two decades, the statistics remain alarming and highlight a persistent and growing public health crisis in Tripura.

 

The data reveals a heartbreaking reality for many families and communities. The infection of students with HIV takes into account the vulnerabilities of the youth in Tripura, driven primarily by the rampant use of injectable drugs.

 

The report indicates that post-Covid, the prevalence of injectable drug usage among students has doubled, from 5% to 10%. This surge has undeniably contributed to the increased HIV/AIDS positivity rate, which has seen a marked rise over the years.

 

One of the primary drivers is the accessibility and usage of injectable drugs. According to TSACS, students from as many as 220 schools and 24 colleges and universities have been identified as users of intravenous drugs.

 

The picture painted by these statistics is dire: children, often from affluent families, fall into the trap of drug addiction, with devastating consequences. The failure of parents and the community to address this issue timely has allowed the crisis to spiral out of control.

 

Dr. Samarpita Dutta, Director of TSACS, noted that the state records approximately 1,500 new HIV cases each year. This figure, combined with the increasing number of drug users, creates a perfect storm for the spread of HIV among the youth. It is a situation that calls for urgent and comprehensive action from both the government and society at large.

 

The Tripura government’s clarification that these figures span 17 years does little to mitigate the severity of the crisis. In fact, it highlights a long-standing issue that has been allowed to fester without adequate intervention.

 

The region's ongoing battle with HIV infections is not new, but the apparent lack of progress in curbing the epidemic among young people is deeply troubling.

 

First and foremost, there must be an aggressive campaign to reduce injectable drug use among students. This involves not only strict law enforcement to curb the availability of drugs but also extensive educational programs in schools and colleges to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use and HIV.

 

Support systems must be put in place to help families cope with and address addiction issues before they lead to HIV infection.

 

In addition, healthcare facilities must be strengthened to provide timely and effective treatment to those already affected by HIV.

 

Regular screenings and confidential counseling services should be made readily available to students to ensure early detection and management of the disease.

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