93 HIV deaths since 1993

Since the first case of HIV was detected in the country in 1993, a total of 93 people have died of AIDS according to health officials.

Today, there are 373 reported cases of Bhutanese living with HIV of which 90 percent were infected through heterosexual sex.

According to official data 22 people with HIV+ were detected this year (until June). The next results will be out on the 1st week of December 2016.

Since 1993 until June 2016, 492 cases were detected of which 252 are male and 240 female.

Out of 492 cases, 276 are on ATR (antiretroviral) therapy. Of 492 cases 34 (23 female and 11 male) are under 15 years who were infected through parents.

Of the 492 cases, 452 people were infected through sexual contact, 34 through mother to child transmission, 3 through intravenous drug use (probable) and 3 through blood transfusion (probability of transfusion outside the country).

On mode of diagnosis, 150 people were detected through contact tracing, 98 with medical screening and voluntary testing and 24 through construction site screening.

Of the 20 districts, 18 have reported HIV+ cases. Gasa and Trashiyangtse have not reported HIV cases so far. However, this did not mean that people from those two dzongkhags are not infected but were being detected in different districts.

Of 14,000 people tested for HIV in 2011, only 45 tested positive and of 20,000 people tested in 2015, 59 tested positive.

Thimphu has the highest detected cases with 203 followed by 76 in Chukha.  Haa has only one detected case.

The highest detections are housewives with 112 followed by farmers with 92. Similarly, there are 11 positive cases from religious bodies, 12 sex workers, 6 students/trainees, 44 drivers, 34 armed forces, 25 corporate employees, 28 civil servants and two prisoners.

A total of 161 infected people were between 30 to 39 years, 123 between 25 to 29 years and nine between 6 to 14 years.

Man having sex with man (MSM), Transgender (TG), injecting drug use and sex workers are more venerable to HIV infection according to health officials.

Social stigma, late detection and poor compliance from clients and the party to the clients are some of the challenges health officials face with regard to HIV control.

The increasing number of lost to follow-up, contact tracing, reaching out to the MSM & TG group and irregular follow-up visit for medical check-up are other challenges.

Counseling and testing services, raising awareness, behavioral change communication, condom promotion, STI treatment, resource mobilization and unifying national and international efforts are some of the measures to control and reduce HIV.

The first case of HIV in the country was detected in 1993 with two cases.

Globally, 36.7 million people were living with HIV (all age groups) in 2015. The number of people living with HIV on Antiretroviral (ATR) was 17.0 million in 2015.

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