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Cases of HIV/AIDS rising alarmingly in Tripura, 150-200 persons being infected each month: CM

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Cases of HIV/AIDS rising alarmingly in Tripura, 150-200 persons being infected each month: CM

Agartala, March 14 (IANS) Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha on Thursday expressed concern over the alarming rise in HIV/AIDS cases in the state with 150 to 200 persons being infected by the contagious disease per month and also red-flagged the growing use of intravenous drug injections or “IV drug use” among students and youths.

Addressing a sensitisation programme on HIV/AIDS at Rabindra Satabarshiki Bhavan here, Saha, who also holds charge of the Health and Family Welfare Department, said that till January, 5,330 people, including 1,033 women and 558 students, were infected by HIV/AIDS.

College principals, headmasters, teachers, guardians, students, and health officials were present in the day-long programme, organised by the Tripura AIDS Control Society, under the Health Department.

Urging the teaching community to closely observe the situation, the Chief Minister said that monitoring and supervising is the main task to curb the HIV/AIDS menace.

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He noted that since the 1970s, Manipur topped the northeastern states in “IV drug use”, adding that all the states in the northeast region and the country are striving for “Nasha Mukt” (drug-free) India, with the guidance and help of the Centre.

“Recently I met a student at Belonia in south Tripura who said that he was a good student and a sportsman but somehow fell victim to the drug menace. After five years, he has now stopped using drugs and now he is recovering from his illness,” he said.

“All the clubs, societal organisations, and groups must come forward to make the people, especially the youths, aware of the abuse of drugs and other evil acts.”

Saha, who is himself a dental surgeon, said that due to financial reasons and ignorance, one disposable syringe is being used by many youths causing the spread of the disease.

He urged all concerned, including teachers, health officials, and NGOs to identify the epicentre of the drug menaces and root out HIV/AIDS.

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He said that after Assam, among the northeastern states, the maximum number of drugs were seized and destroyed in Tripura.

The Chief Minister said that the state government has already decided to set up eight drug de-addiction centres in eight districts to provide all assistance and guidance to the youths, striving to free themselves from the menace.

Officials said that the drugs, smuggled from Myanmar, are coming to Tripura through Mizoram and Assam and going to Bangladesh through covert routes and the border guarding forces are always alert to stamp out the drugs trade.

Besides the Central and state security forces, various other government agencies and NGOs are working relentlessly to make Tripura a drug-free state, the Chief Minister said and urged all concerned to remain alert about their children so that they do not become influenced or fall victim to the drug menace.

–IANS

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