The AIDS Society of India (ASI), a membership association of doctors and researchers in HIV care, has welcome the Union government’s initiative with the launch of ‘Test and Treat’ policy for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in India on Friday.
Earlier this month, the Lok Sabha had passed The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had recommended new HIV treatment guidelines last year to “test and treat all”.
Dr I S Gilada, president of ASI, welcomed the government’s initiative and said most of their suggestions have been accepted in the bill, including provision of life and medical insurance for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs), right of adoption for PLHA couples, protection and immunity to healthcare persons involved in HIV prevention work, and right of residence to HIV infected or affected children and female spouse.
Currently, of the estimated 2.1 million PLHIV, little over one million are accessing free Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). However, the challenges include identifying those HIV infected people who do not know their status, laboratory infrastructure to monitor HIV treatment — especially doing viral load counts, training ART medical officers in understanding resistance to ART and adherence to treatment among PLHIV taking ART.