AIDS increasing in Cox’s Bazar

Ismail Hossain Rasel: | Published: 2022-06-12 08:57:56 BdST | Updated: 2024-07-20 19:33:24 BdST

The number of AIDS cases amongst Rohingyas and local has been increasing in Cox's Bazar every year.

According to the information provided by ART (Anti-retroviral Therapy) and HIV wing of Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital, HIV scanning programme started in Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital in 2015.

Following the massive influx of Rohingyas, 538 people were diagnosed with HIV in Cox's Bazar between October 2017 and 2019, of whom 395 were Rohingyas.

However, by May 2022, the number of AIDS patients in Cox's Bazar has increased to 954, and 771 of them are Rohingyas.

At present, there are 710 people under treatment, of whom 612 are Rohingyas and 98 are Bangladeshis. So far, 61 Rohingyas and 57 Bengalis have died of AIDS.

Those concerned believe that this number can increase several times if HIV is scanned correctly and on a large scale.

ART and HIV Focal Person of Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital Md Ashiqur Rahman said that all the concerned parties have not yet come under scanning. It is currently not possible to say exactly how many AIDS patients are there in the Rohingya camps.

He said Myanmar is one of the countries at risk of AIDS in Southeast Asia. Bangladesh is also at risk due to the high rate of AIDS among the Rohingya population.

Ukhiya Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Ranjan Barua Rajon said, "We cannot confine the Rohingya population to a specific area. They move freely with outside population. If the rate of HIV infection continues to rise among the displaced Myanmar nationals, it will definitely affect us too."

In this situation, the Healthcare Department of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission and the Department of Health Care emphasised the importance of monitoring the Rohingyas in addition to testing for AIDS.

Toha Bhuiyan, health coordinator of Cox's Bazar Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission Office, said, "There are many foreigners in Cox's Bazar, they should be brought under a screening process. If we can investigate in advance about how many people are infected, then it will be possible to bring them under healthcare services."

Department of Infectious Disease Control's Line Director Professor Dr Md Nazmul Islam said, if those who live in the camps are not aware and if they do not help each other, then it will become a very difficult matter for the government alone to control.