Lack of awareness hampering HIV screening

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People being counseled for TB, AIDS at a camp in Delhi

Rohit Shishodia
Many people coming to a health checkup and screening camp at Delhi’s Patparganj area are reluctant to undergo HIV screening test. Their lack of knowledge about the deadly infectious disease is a major reason why they don’t want to go under the test.

“They believe that as they do not indulge in unsafe sex, they do not have AIDS. But this is not the only cause of the disease. The other causes include reuse of needle that has been used on AIDS affected person and transfusion of blood from AIDS infected person. It can also spread to a child during pregnancy or breastfeeding from the infected mother,” says a volunteer who was screening people at the screening camp for HIV and TB at Labor Chowk in Patparganj, Delhi.

The screening camp was organized by RASTA, an NGO, assisted by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and Delhi AIDS Control Society. The NGO keeps organizing camps in different localities of Delhi to ascertain the total number of TB and AIDS affected people in Delhi. The other objective of the camp was to spread awareness about the two diseases.

The volunteer further said that the people were also screened for TB. More than ten people with symptoms of TB were referred to the Delhi government-run Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and the Chest Hospital run by EDMC.

He said that cough for more than two weeks, blood in mucous, fever at night with sweat and tiredness are some symptoms of TB. Fever, headache, muscle ache and joint pain, rash, sore throat and painful mouth sores, swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck, diarrhea, weight loss, cough and night sweats are symptoms of AIDS.


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