Nine new cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive cases were detected in the first quarter of this year.
Average of 53 samples were collected quarterly last year by Royal Center for Disease Control (RCDC). From a total of 212 serum samples referred in to RCDC, 37% or 79 people tested positive in 2017.
RCDC’s laboratory officer Jit Bdr. said that the increased case detection in the recent years may be due to the decentralization of HIV testing to the BHUs throughout the country.
He said few samples received after March will be confirmed by the end of June. Till December last year, there were 570 reported cases of Bhutanese living with HIV of which 90 percent were infected through heterosexual sex. Of the total 570 detected cases, 294 are male.
The most vulnerable group for HIV infection according to health officials are men having unprotected sex with men (MSM), Transgender (TG), injecting drug use and sex workers.
The country has had HIV testing services in the hospitals since 2006, after which it was found that the number of cases has been increasing due to awareness and improved health service systems.
The first case of HIV was detected in 1993.