People with HIV/AIDS will soon be able to go out of town without worrying about missing their appointments for treatment at Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres.
Within three months, the National AIDS Control Organisation plans to issue smart cards to 3.22 lakh patients who are on ART.
This will enable them to go to any NACO-run centre in India. With a simple swipe of the smart card, the doctor at the centre will be able to view the patient’s complete medical and treatment history so he or she can give the accurate dose of medicines.
“This will benefit all patients, especially migrants and mobile population, who find it difficult to stick to the treatment plan. We hope to improve drug adherence, so there are fewer cases of resistance,” said Dr Damodar Bachani, Deputy Director General at NACO.
Even if a HIV patient delays taking the ART medication for three days, he or she is at risk of developing resistance to the drugs, said Dr S.S. Kudalkar from Mumbai District AIDS Control Society.
Around 15,000 HIV patients in Mumbai are currently on ART.
NACO has already started a pilot test of the smart card software at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi.
“The plan has been worked out. We should be able to start issuing the smart cards after the pilot,” said Dr Bachani.