Agartala, Oct. 28: The pregnant wife of a man, who died after the couple attempted to commit suicide by consuming pesticide on Saturday night, is battling for her life at Dharmanagar subdivisional hospital in North Tripura.
The couple, who are in their thirties, took the extreme step after blood tests confirmed they were AIDS patients. The two, who were married in 2008, had settled in the Lad Rymbai area of Meghalaya for the past five years.
Official sources said 38-year-old Amit Nath (name changed) and his wife, 35-year-old wife Reema (name changed), were writhing in agony in their bedroom on Saturday night. Hearing their cries, Amit’s younger brothers shifted the couple to Dharmanagar subdivisional hospital where Amit was pronounced “brought dead”. Reema, who is five months pregnant, is undergoing treatment.
The incident has sparked statewide furore because the step, sources said, was a result of sustained ill-treatment and abuse from family members, neighbours and fellow villagers who came to know that the couple had contracted AIDS.
According to sources in the health department, Amit, a “mechanic and driver” was originally a resident of Goalabasti village under Dharmanagar subdivision.
After Reema became pregnant, both husband and wife started suffering from diseases which turned out to be resistant to ordinary prescribed drugs.
The couple, out of fear, returned to Amit’s ancestral home in Goalabasti but their health started worsening. “They delayed coming to the hospital. But when they met doctors in Dharmanagar subdivisional hospital, a blood test was prescribed for Reema, which confirmed that she had AIDS. Thereafter, the two went to the integrated counselling and testing centre (ICTC) at Agartala, run by the Tripura State AIDS Control Society (TSACS),” said a senior official of the health department.
“Actually both husband and wife started suspecting each other of (transmitting) the infection and, in fact, quarrelled before our eyes though we managed to convince them that the disease might have been caused by reasons other than pre or post-marital sexual misconduct,” he said.
Citing official data, health department sources said Tripura currently has 405 confirmed AIDS patients and altogether 1,091 HIV-positive patients till September 30 this year.
“Among the HIV-positive cases, 373 are female while among the confirmed AIDS patients, 128 are female and the AIDS control society is implementing many programmes to keep the disease in check,” a source said.