Kasargod:  In a shocking report, Kasargod district witnessed 10 HIV deaths within a period of two months. The HIV affected people are being denied proper treatment as there are no specialist doctors at the Antiretrovial Therapy (ART) Centre in Kasargod for four months. Besides, these people were not given nutritional food offered by the govt for about five months.

Out of the 10 HIV deaths that were reported, 8 were registered at the Kasargod ART centre and died in the month of July and August. The remaining two were registered at the Kasargod District Nightwork of People Living With HIV and AIDS (KNDP).  All HIV patients belonged to Padannakkad, Dharmathadka, Neeleswaram, Manjeshwaram, Bhandiyod, Kasargod and Vellarikundu.

There are 970 HIV affected persons registered at the ART centre in Kasargod. Out of this, nearly half the patients visit the centre regularly every week and seek treatment. But the service of the expert doctor at the centre ended from May.

In people with HIV, CD4 test is the most important laboratory indicator of how well your immune system is working and the strongest predictor of HIV progression and this facility is not present at the centre.

The CD4 machine installed at the centre two years back at a cost of Rs 10 lakh did not function even for a single day. HIV affected patients have to travel to Mangalore to take the CD4 test which is being done at the Wenlock District Hospital. If the CD4 count is less than 350, then further treatment has to be started. And the patients will have to be sent to the Thrissur Medical College Hospital only by an expert doctor at the ART centre.

The expert doctor’s recommendation is also needed to seek treatment at the Centre of Excellence Centre at Tambaram in Chennai for the vital load test to determine the presence of virus in the body.  Presently, with no specialist doctor at the centre, everything has gone awry. 

The Kasargod centre has bagged the best Art Centre award installed by the state AIDS Control Society. The state govt’s healthy food distributed to these affected people has also stopped coming for the past five months and this has also affected the patients living here.