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Mother-to-child transmission of HIV drops notably in Maharashtra

As against 54,167 positive cases of people living with HIV diagnosed in Maharashtra in 2011, only 15,119 new positive cases were detected in the first nine months of 2018.

pune Updated: Dec 01, 2018 14:44 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,World Aids Day,Maharashtra
A man poses as he displays his hand and face painted with messages during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign on the eve of World AIDS Day.(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY)

Thirty years after World Aids Day was first observed globally, Maharashtra has seen a significant drop in HIV prevalence and in mother-to-child transmission which falls under the most vulnerable and high risk category for HIV infections.

As against 54,167 positive cases of people living with HIV diagnosed in Maharashtra in 2011, only 15,119 new positive cases were detected in the first nine months of 2018, said Dr Pramod Devraj, project director, Aids Control Society, (Maharashtra).

“This transmission rate in mother-to-child was 15 per cent a decade ago, whereas now the transmission rate in is below two per cent. This is an achievement,” he added.

Confirming this, Dr Samiran Panda, director of the Pune-based National Aids research institute (Nari) said that mother-to-child transmission rate has come down significantly in India. “The drop is more than 60 per cent today. We have managed to bring down the transmission rate in babies who were at the risk of acquiring the infection from their mothers in the wombs,” he said.

According to him, this was possible only because of strategic planning, national programmes, increased number of anti-retroviral therapy centres, targeted intervention programmes, integrated counselling centres, increased awareness, proper drug distribution and drug adherence in this category.

As against 4,552 cases of mother-to-child transmissions in 2007, this year, only 604 such cases were reported in Maharashtra, Dr. Devraj said.

Dr Panda stressed that one area that needs urgent attention is the shortage of drugs and its distribution to the affected people. “It is important that all the anti-retroviral therapy centres receive their timely stock of medicines else it affects the drug adherence rate in patients living with HIV leading to drug resistance and putting them at risk of multi-drug resistance,” he said.

Dr Devraj noted that a severe shortage of ARV (anti retroviral) drugs was witnessed till last month in Maharashtra. “Since the drugs come to us from the national authorities we are helpless and have to wait,” he said.

Consequently, the Aids Control Society, (Maharashtra) has decided to establish six regional supply chain centres which can be approached directly by the 73 anti-retroviral therapy in the state. The location of these six centres will be decided soon, he said. Also, to strengthen the facilities for people living with HIV in the state, the government has recently launched free bus service for the patients who travel within the vicinity of 50 km.

HIV in Maharashtra

•Mother to child transmission

2007: In 4,552 cases of the screened population of 6.45 lakh

2018 (till September): In 604 cases of the screened population of 16.77 lakh

•Maharashtra has 73 anti-retroviral therapy centres

•Total number of patients living with HIV on anti-retroviral therapy:2.05 lakh

Source: Aids Control Society, (Maharashtra)

First Published: Dec 01, 2018 14:30 IST