Itanagar: HIV/AIDS cases have been steadily going up in Arunachal Pradesh over the past five years, with 223 cases being recorded till last March.
The number was 167 in 2010, officials of the Arunachal Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) said.
APSACS Dy. Director (IEC) Tashor Pali said that most of those tested positive were in the age group of 15 to 39.
Papum Pare district topped the list of HIV/AIDS-infected patients followed by Lohit and Changlang in the second and third spot respectively.
"Unprotected sexual contact is found to be the primary reason for increase in HIV infection among people in the age group of 15 to 39 in the state," Pali said.
Pali said, "Awareness is the only way to stay away from infection as Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ARVT) can control only the multiplication of HIV virus inside the body, but cannot cure AIDS."
District Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC) Supervisor Ali Taloh says that counselling for patients is a must since patients suffer from sudden shock and fear of death after they test positive.
Pali observed that through proper and timely counselling, the longevity of life of the patients could be expanded by making them understand that there was a life beyond AIDS.
"Through counseling we try to instil confidence among them on how to live a positive life, besides urging them to become a symbol of awareness by sharing experiences with their family members, friends and the society", Pali further said.
A private organisation "Arunachal Network of Positive People (ArNP+)" has been rendering a great service in creating awareness about the disease among people.
The ArNP+ is a registered society in the state constituted by 14 HIV-positive individuals.