Home > News > Report
Bihar MLAs to undergo HIV/AIDS test
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna |
September 25, 2003 03:10 IST
The Bihar government has plans to invite the state's elected representatives, including legislators, to undergo a HIV/AIDS test in October.
If the plan is carried out, they will probably become the world's first elected representatives to be tested for HIV/AIDS as part of an awareness campaign.
Sources in the state health department said most legislators and ministers had agreed and it is hoped that their collective participation in the campaign would send a strong message to the people.
Health Minister Shakuni Choudhary said that the Bihar State AIDS Control Society would target everyone from village headmen to MLAs to undergo the test. It has also planned a conference, to be inaugurated by Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, on October 11 as part of the campaign.
The idea was first proposed by Helping Hand Foundation, a Patna-based NGO, claims its director Lalan Choubey. He accused the state government of hijacking the proposal. "We came up with the innovative idea to spread the message about HIV/AIDS on a large scale."
Incidentally, last year Bihar became the first Indian state to make it mandatory for all new HIV/AIDS cases to be reported to the government.
The state is showing an alarming increase in HIV/AIDS cases with migrant labourers and truck drivers being the major carriers of the disease. By the end of May 2003, the total number of HIV infected persons had crossed 2,500 as against only 1,200 till September last year.
According to official records, there are 153 full-blown AIDS cases in the state. Till date, eight persons are said to have died of AIDS in the state.
However, Bihar continues to be behind developed states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the number of HIV/AIDS cases.
More reports from Bihar