2 Assam jails record 85 HIV cases in a month

Most of the inmates had contracted the virus before they were arrested, says official

The authorities of two jails in central Assam’s Nagaon district have detected 85 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive cases in about a month.

The cases were reported from the Central Jail and the Special Jail, both in district headquarters Nagaon, about 125 km east of Guwahati.

According to Atul Pator, district Joint Director of Health Services, most of the inmates had contracted the virus before they were put behind bars. “The disease in them was detected a few days ago,” he said.

Intravenous drug users

Officials said the patients, mostly intravenous drug users, were arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

“Forty cases were detected at the Central Jail,” jailor Prabin Hazarika said, denying the possibility of those found positive infecting others. He also trashed allegations that the infected inmates were getting access to drugs.

Officials of the Special Jail said they detected 45 HIV positive cases, claiming members of the patients’ families were being updated on their health status.

Nagaon SP Anand Mishra said drugs and illegitimate sexual relations were factors behind the high rate of infection.

Pharmacist held

“The jail authorities should be vigilant about the inmates getting access to drugs. The police recently arrested a pharmacist for supplying drugs to the inmates,” he said.

Assam’s BJP government under Himanta Biswa Sarma has already launched a war against drugs five months ago. Since then, drugs worth more than ₹200 crore have been seized and scores of smugglers, peddlers and addicts arrested.

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