With the ever-increasing unsafe sex practices, massive migration and low awareness there has been a significant increase in the incidence of the killer disease amongst the tribal community, living close to coastal Orissa.
Several districts of Orissa including Ganjam, Kendrapara, Balasore Nuapada, Koraput, Rayagada, Phulbani and Sundargarh have very high rates of HIV incidence, which poses a challenge to the Government of Orissa. The percentage of men and women, who are affected with the disease, is around 65 and 35 respectively while that of the children is ten per cent.
At Koraput, 142 HIV infected cases and 30 full-blown AIDS cases were recorded by the State Health Department in September 2005 alone. This was closely followed by Rayagada, which had nearly 80 HIV positive cases and 29 AIDS cases. The number of case in Sundargarh, Nuapada and Phulbani districts approximated to 35/12, 23/8, and 3/2 respectively.
These figures account for a total of 50 AIDS related deaths in all the districts combined. According to National AIDS Control Organization (NACO)'s July end statistics, the AIDS cases recorded in Orissa was 467. The official estimates however are believed to be much higher pointing to 2506 HIV positive cases and 641 full-blown AIDS in Orissa.
Migration of the tribal community to the urban areas in search of work for their livelihood and unsafe sex practices amongst the tribal communities are probable causes for the observed trend according to Health Department officials. In addition, the poor access to basic health care facilities, low awareness and visits by outsiders are believed to worsen the situation.
In response to the above situation, it has been planned to cover more districts as part of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). Furthermore, 408 new Voluntary counseling and confidential testing centre (VCTCs) would be launched in the State.