Aids-control targets on track
India has recorded a steady drop in infection, down from 27.3 lakh in 2002 to 22.7 lakh in 2008. Now that the HIV epidemic in India has stabilised, it's time to give it a final push to ensure infection stays low, K. Chandramouli, secretary and director general, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), tells HT.india Updated: Jun 28, 2010 02:32 IST
India has recorded a steady drop in infection, down from 27.3 lakh in 2002 to 22.7 lakh in 2008. Now that the HIV epidemic in India has stabilised, it's time to give it a final push to ensure infection stays low, K. Chandramouli, secretary and director general, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), tells HT. Excerpts:
What is NACO’s main strategy in HIV prevention?
Since prevalence is 0.29 per cent in the general population, NACO sub-populations that are at most risk — migrants, truckers, sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSMs) and injecting drug users (IDUs) — receive the highest priority.
Is there any major change in this strategy?
In India, 87.1 per cent of HIV transmission is through heterosexual sex. Over the past decade, HIV prevention programmes focused on providing migrants’ services at the destinations, such as Mumbai, Surat, Pune and Delhi. We
now want to offer information and prevention services to migrants... at transit points to stop potential infection...
How will 'Biometric Smart Cards' given to people living with HIV and AIDS help them?
Smart cards carrying a unique number will be given to everyone getting free anti-retroviral treatment (used to treat HIV and AIDS) .... These cards will prevent duplication and allow patients to seek treatment wherever they are... NACO will issue 50,000 such cards by the end of 2010.
How successful has India been in preventing mother-to-child infection?
To prevent mother-to-child infection, the drug nevirapine is given free to the mother and child during childbirth. A single dose to the mother and child prevents infection in 94 per cent cases. It has been given to 12,083 mothers and babies.
NACO's National AIDs Control Programme (NACP-3) is now in its third phase.Is it meeting expectation?
The targets are tough — to reverse HIV in India by 2012 by 60 per cent reduction in infection in high-prevalence states ... and reduce new infection by 40 per cent in states which are a source of migrants. The good news is that we are on track. Blood safety is being assured through the setting up of 1,100 blood banks with 131 blood component separation units to ensure donated blood is tested and used optimally. That apart, 1.4 crore people have been tested in 2009-10, and ART given to 3.2 lakh.