Only 14 register at state’s lone rehab centre for women - ECAS Punjab

Only 14 register at state’s lone rehab centre for women

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Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 1

Roshni (35) needs to get on ART as she has been diagnosed with HIV. Muskaan, another HIV patient, needs to get an Aadhaar card to be able to seek benefits of various health and job schemes started by the state government. But while one refuses to get treatment, the other refuses an Aadhaar card.

The (Anti-Retro Viral Therapy) ART Centre, opened in Kapurthala in August, has come as a boon for HIV positive men and women, who had to earlier travel to Jalandhar to get treatment. While ART has opened ways to a better living for the registered women, many of whom also found jobs via district services, however, the stigma associated with the disease result in women largely shying away from showing up.

There are over 10,000 registered drug users at the De-Addiction Centre for Men at Kapurthala while at the De-Addiction Centre for Women (the only centre for women in the state) there are mere 226 users. At the ART Centre, there are 172 registered men and only 14 women.

Of 226 women drug users in Kapurthala, 47 are HCV positive and 16 are HIV positive. Of these 16, two haven't turned up. As a result, the health workers are bringing women from their homes in their own vehicles to ensure their treatment.

Dr Sandeep Bhola, Nodal Officer, Mental Health and De-Addiction, Kapurthala, said: "The ART Centre has come as a huge relief for patients. But women, as compared to men, are still wary of coming for treatment. The taboo begins with society."

Sarabjit, Project Manager, Alliance AIDS, said: "There are several women who don't want their relatives to know. Most of them became drug users due to social pressures and peer group influence."



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