THE NATIONAL AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has reduced the charges of CD4 testing from Rs 500 to Rs 250 per test before enrolment for Anti-retroviral treatment (ART).
Further, according to the order dated October 26, 2006 of Director (Finance) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the test would be ‘free of cost’ for children and adults below poverty line.
All those persons who have a CD count less than 350 and show related symptoms are registered with the ART Centre at the M Y Hospital here and given free medicine worth Rs 1500 per month. ART delays the onset of AIDS and the common perception about HIV is changing from being an immediately fatal scourge to somewhat more manageable chronic illness.
According to the latest guidelines, those patients who are already registered with the ART Centre would be offered maximum of two free of cost CD4 count tests if needed.
A CD4 counter, a must for all ART Centres, is presently not available at the Centre at M Y Hospital. The patients are referred to Choithram Hospital and Research Centre (CHRC), where the facility is available under tie up with Madhya Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (MPSACS) and NACO.
“We too have received a copy of the Director (Finance) directive and we agree the guidelines in toto,” CHRC head of department of microbiology Dr D S Chitnis said. The order would be implemented with immediate effect, he said.
“We have however not received the new receipt books and hence would not be able follow the new guidelines on this count. We have written to the MPSACS. Till then, we are issuing temporary receipts,” Dr Chitnis said.
The new directives calls for preparing receipts in three copies with one copy to be given to the patient, second to be retained by the Centre and the third to be sent to the MPSACS.
On an average, CHRC gets 40 patients per month. Patients not just from Madhya Pradesh but also from districts in neighbouring areas of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra come to the ART Centre at M Y Hospital.