Srinagar- As many as five drug users in the Kashmir Valley have tested positive for the deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) this year, as healthcare professionals sound the alarm saying drug use may accelerate the spread of HIV and worsen its symptoms, especially in the brain . Addict.
According to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, 6,158 HIV cases have been registered in antiretroviral treatment (ART) centers in Jammu and Kashmir. The total number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) registered at the HIV Care Center at SKIMS, Surah, is 703 out of 6,158 cases.
As many as five drug-addicted patients have had their HIV test results confirmed at the SMHS de-addiction centre. Experts believe that although Kashmir has the lowest HIV infection rate in the country, a significant proportion of drug users are still infected with HIV.
Official statistics show that 3,478 HIV-positive patients are currently on ART out of a total of 6,158 cases, while 1,400 HIV-positive patients have succumbed to the deadly disease in UT so far.
“The HIV status of five drug-addicted patients has been confirmed at the SMHS de-addiction center; the current number may be higher,” Dr Fazal-e-Rob, senior resident physician at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), told Kashmir Observer 》.
Dr. Fazal said drug users’ unique lifestyles make them more susceptible to HIV/AIDS, even if they do not have sexual contact with an infected person.
He said those who use drugs or engage in high-risk behaviors related to drug use have an increased risk of contracting or transmitting viral diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
“This often occurs when drug users exchange needles or other related equipment when injecting drugs, and when their judgment is impaired by the drug and they engage in unprotected sex with an infected partner,” he said.
“His brain and behavior are so affected by drug addiction that the addict loses self-control. Drug abuse accelerates the spread of HIV and worsens its symptoms, especially in the brain. Drug addicts have more sexual behaviors than ordinary people Being more active and high on drugs, they don’t even bother to use protection during sex,” he added.
Noted virologist and President of Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan has expressed serious concern over the growing drug menace among youth in the Valley, saying drug users are more susceptible to viral infections, including HIV, B and C hepatitis.
“Needles and syringes are a potential source of hepatitis C infection among drug users. Hepatitis C virus is more likely to be spread when needles and syringes are shared or reused because they can hold more after use than syringes with fixed needles of blood,” Dr Nisar told Kashmir Observer.
He said hepatitis B virus (HBV) exploits both direct and indirect processes to aid the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
“Chronic infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus increases the risk of liver cancer. Inflammation associated with hepatitis B infection may lead to cirrhosis or severe liver scarring, which impairs the liver’s function,” the DAK president added.
He said the SMHS hospital was receiving more and more drug-related hepatitis B and C patients every day and any laxity in treatment by the patient could lead to his premature and unexpected death.
“Besides Hepatitis C and B, drug addicts are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS as they more often use contaminated syringes to inject drugs. Hepatitis C and B are on the rise in Kashmir Valley Very high,” he said.
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