February 27, 2018 4:26:17 am
Health minister JP Nadda on Monday launched free Viral Load Tests, which measure the quantity of virus in the body. The move is likely to benefit 12 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in the country.
Calling it a “historic day,” Nadda said the viral load test is a “big step towards the treatment and monitoring of people living with HIV. “This test is of immense importance to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of patients taking lifelong anti-retroviral therapy (ART),” he said.
Ending the stigma towards the PLHIV was essential to enable them to access health services, the minister said. “To facilitate reduction in stigma and discrimination, the long pending HIV/AIDS Act has been passed, which is a historical step. Very few countries globally have such a law to protect rights of people infected with HIV,” he said.
He added routine viral load testing will optimise the utilisation of first-line regimens, thus preventing drug resistance and ensuring the longevity of people living with HIV.
As per WHO guidelines, India, in 2017, revised the anti-retroviral treatment protocols to initiate all PLHIV to ART. Currently about 12 lakh PLHIV are undergoing treatment in more than 530 ART centres.
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