Guwahati, Dec. 3: Dispur is considering a proposal to give cash incentives to doctors who engage in creating awareness about AIDS and HIV infection.
Sources told The Telegraph that only those doctors who take an extra initiative to sensitise their patients and the public about AIDS would be rewarded with such incentives.
“The move has come after it was found that many doctors and teachers were not aware of AIDS and HIV infection. One of the reasons for the spread of AIDS is that people hesitate to consult doctors and do not want to know about the preventive measures and treatment. So, all doctors will have to play a proactive role in creating an awareness which is found missing now,” the source said.
Dispur’s move has come close on the heels of Union health ministry’s report that Assam is one of the states where the number of new HIV infections has steadily increased over the past decade. The report also highlights that an increase in new infections indicates that low prevalence states like Assam need stronger interventions aimed at curbing the spread of HIV.
According to the report, the number of HIV infections in Assam was 1,219 in 2007. The figure has gone up to 2,408 in 2011.
Commissioner and secretary of health A.B. Mohd Eunus said his department would submit a proposal to the state government to sponsor foreign trips of doctors in the state to enable them to participate in international seminars, workshops and discussions on HIV/AIDS at regular intervals.
“There has been advancements in treatment of AIDS and prevention of its spread. The western countries like the US has been able to effectively treat the disease. So our doctors have to be sent to such countries to know about the latest advancements in treating and creating awareness about AIDS,” Eunus said.
A doctor at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital agrees that physicians will have to play a key role in creating awareness about AIDS.
“If any person shows symptoms like loss of appetite, loss of weight and burning sensation in genitals, then he or she should immediately consult the nearest HIV testing centres and go for HIV tests. If detected early, a person can be fully cured. Doctors must tell their patients about such symptoms even if they are not suffering from the disease,” the doctor said.
Assam is a low prevalence state, but it is considered highly vulnerable considering its location, socio-economic and cultural factors
Routes of infection
in the state
Unprotected sexual intercourse: 82.05%
Parent-to-child transmission: 5.22%
Infected needles: 4.32%
Blood transfusion: 1.61%.