Maharashtra Sees a 33% Increase in Sexually Transmitted Infections in 2022–2023

Sexually Transmitted Infections

A worrying trend has been the 33% rise in STI cases in the state of Maharashtra between 2022 and 2023. The Maharashtra State Aids Control Society (MSACS) reported that during this period, 1 lakh STI cases were diagnosed, up from 75,713 in 2021–2022, which is a notable increase over the 76,038 cases reported in 2020–21.

Activists claim that the state program’s protracted lack of free condoms and testing kits for more than seven months is largely to blame.

Condoms are supposed to be freely given out in hotspots, but some NGOs have reported not receiving any for more than a year.

As sexually transmitted infections are on the rise, an activist declared that urgent action is required. The increase in newly reported cases may be related to the unavailability of necessary resources.

A few activists highlighted the need of continuing safe sexual practises, citing data from Mumbai that indicates 96% of new infections still result from unsafe sex and that only 3% of infections are transferred from an infected mother to her child.

An MSACS (Maharashtra State Aids Control Society) official stated that the risk of HIV infection and transmission is five to ten times higher in individuals with STDs. He did concede, though, that the normalisation of testing services following the pandemic might have contributed to the increase in cases. Prior to the pandemic, the state had recorded 1.1 lakh cases in 2020–21 and 1 lakh cases in 2018–19.

In certain parts of the national AIDS programme, an NGO member reports that there is an acute shortage of condoms, testing kits, and even medications. Additionally, many NGOs have reported not receiving funding for longer than five months.

The Center’s 2030 target to end the AIDS epidemic calls for achieving the 95-95-95 targets by 2025, meaning that 95% of people living with HIV are aware of their status, 95% are receiving treatment, and 95% have suppressed viral loads. He expressed concerns about this target.

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