Recently, Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment submitted its report to the state Government of Meghalaya. The Assembly Committee was led by Ampareen Lyngdoh. The Committee has found that 3 out of every 1000 pregnant women in Meghalaya are testing positive for HIV (human immunodeficiency viruses).
- According to the report, there are 5000 plus cases of HIV/AIDS in the state. The number of cases is increasing alarmingly.
- With the discussions made with the police department and social welfare department in the state, the committee has identified that there is an urgent need to address the issue of commercial sex workers.
- The state Government has been suggested to frame a policy to address the issue of HIV/AIDS.
- The committee has recommended to conduct a inter-state study to find out the reason on why HIV is more prevalent among the pregnant women.
- The major concern that needs immediate action is the prevalence of HIV among sex workers in the East Khasi hills.
- According to Meghalaya AIDS Control Society, there are more than 200 sex workers that test HIV positive.
- There are schemes of the Central Govt that try to rehabilitate sex workers in the state. However, it is currently not functioning due to very slow flow of funds from the centre.
About Meghalaya Health Policy
In March 2021, the State Government adopted a new Health Policy. This policy does include AIDS. However, it has not prioritised the issue. The seriousness of the problem does not reflect in the policy. Also, the policy lacks to provide a detailed plan to eliminate AIDS in the state. The policy simply states the following:
- The policy will aim to achieve “Global Target of 2020” where 90 per cent of the people living with HIV will receive antiretroviral therapy.
According to National AIDS Control Organisation, around 0.54 per cent of the population in the state are living with HIV. Also, state has the highest Syphilis cases in the country according to HIV Surveillance Sentinel, 2017. Around 1.03 per cent of all pregnant have tested positive for the disease.
pregnant women positive for HIV