1,400 HIV patients from Mumbai traced, put on treatment suggested by WHO
As per the policy, an HIV patient must be put on ART after testing positive, irrespective of their immunity indicatormumbai Updated: Dec 01, 2017 23:32 IST
Of the 6,437 patients, who tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the city, 1,400 have been put on antiretroviral treatment (ART) since June. Initially, the treatment was not given to them as tests revealed they had a higher immunity.
Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) traced these patients and started treating them after the Centre adopted the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended ‘Test and Treat’ policy on April 28.
As per the policy, an HIV patient must be put on ART after testing positive. This must happen irrespective of their immunity indicator, which is measured on the basis of CD4 count or T-cell test. The test counts the number of T-cells that offer immunity against infections. Prior to this policy, HIV-positive patients with good immunity were not given ART.
Dr Srikala Acharya, director, MDACS, said they have managed to contact 5,743 patients so far, of which 1,400 have been put on ART. She added that another 740 patients, who agreed to start the treatment, are yet to show up.
“For the remaining patients, whom we were unable to contact on the numbers given, we have started visiting the addresses they had provided earlier,” she added.
Once a patient is traced, he/she is counselled and asked to continue the treatment, said an MDACS official.
The idea behind adopting the WHO policy was to prevent ‘opportunistic infections’ in HIV patients, said an official from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). These infections occur frequently and are severe in individuals with weakened immune system, especially those with HIV.
Dr RS Gupta, deputy director general,NACO, said the programme is doing ‘very well’ across the country. “50% of patients, who tested positive, but were not on treatment, are now on ART,” he added.