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The National STD (sexually transmitted diseases) Control Programme says that physicians had not conducted proper investigations into the sexual histories of patients including whether the patients had unprotected sex or had multiple sexual partners.

Patients too had a responsibility to tell their doctors.
The number of cases of human immunodeficiency virus positive (HIV+) patients for 2016 was 250 whereas in 2015, it was 235.
The death rate was 42 (approximately over 40) in 2016 and 34 in 2015. All of these are not new infections but ones which have come to light now due to increased testing taking place.

Director of the Programme, Dr. Sisira Liyanage added that some cases had been diagnosed at a very late stage, critical or terminal stage.

HIV testing at an early stage is important and physicians must look for persistent cough, undiagnosed fever and symptoms of cancer.  After 10 to 12 years, HIV can become AIDS if untreated, at which stage patients may get pneumonia, tuberculoses or even cancer. Receiving treatment even at the early stages of AIDS can mitigate the situation.

Circulars have been issued to all hospitals, laboratories and clinics, physicians and other relevant authorities to conduct tests or collect blood samples for rapid testing in healthcare settings.

Dr Liyanage noted that the participation of doctors in programmes conducted by the National Control Programme in hospitals was poor, adding however that other categories of healthcare professionals did participate.

“In terms of HIV transmission, while 95% occurs due to unsafe sex, one per cent takes place due to transmission of blood products including via intravenous drug use and tattooing. Personnel at salons including tattoo parlours have been educated, yet some places don’t strictly take universal precautions and follow sterility in invasive processes,” Dr. Liyanage explained.

(RLJ)