- Dramatic rise in HIV cases
- 39 percent increase compared to second quarter of 2022
- 13 deaths in second quarter
By Sheain Fernandopulle
Sri Lanka has experienced a dramatic surge in HIV/AIDS cases during the second half of 2023, marking the highest number of cases reported in a single quarter since 2009.
According to the National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Sri Lanka has recorded 181 new HIV cases, reflecting a nine percent increase compared to the previous quarter in 2023, which saw 165 cases. The second quarter ranges from April to June.
This also represents a significant 39 percent increase compared to the second quarter of 2022, which had 130 cases.
Out of the cases reported in the second quarter, 26 males and three females fall within the age range of 15-24, while the remaining cases are individuals above 25 years old.
The male to female ratio of reported HIV cases in 2023 stands at 8.1:1.
Furthermore, the second quarter has reported 13 deaths related to HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has officially reported 10 HIV cases among the transgender community, while a total of 3,968 males and 1,379 females have contracted HIV thus far since 2009.
According to Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, Director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme, there has been a significant rise in HIV cases in 2023.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Dr. Vidanapathirana stated that a total of 346 HIV cases have been reported this year, marking a noticeable increase compared to the previous year.
Dr. Vidanapathirana also expressed concern that the number of cases may continue to rise in the coming months.
She attributed the increase to several factors, including the expansion of testing capacity, a lack of knowledge about sex education among the public, risky sexual behaviors, and a failure to take necessary precautions.
"It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the risks associated with HIV and to take appropriate measures to protect themselves. The National STD/AIDS Control Programme continues to work towards raising awareness and providing necessary resources to combat the spread of HIV," she added.