It will benefit patients from the hilly region of Valparai and nearby areas

To reach out to persons with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in far-flung areas of Pollachi and Valparai, the Link ART Centre at the Government Hospital in Pollachi will be upgraded into a full-fledged anti-retroviral therapy centre in a month, District Programme Manager of the District AIDS Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU), B. Mohammed Ali said on Friday, on the eve of World AIDS Day on December 1.

“At present, we have only one full-fledged ART Centre and it functions in the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital as a nodal centre for the entire Coimbatore district,” he said.

Dr. Ali pointed out that each district was normally provided with only one ART Centre, but had many link centres that dispensed drugs to persons with HIV in the locality, who were registered with the nodal centre. But, comprehensive treatment and evaluation could be done only at the ART/nodal Centre.

“In addition to the GH in Pollachi, the other link centres are at the following places: Central Prison, Government Hospital at Valparai and the Primary Health Centre at Karamadai,” he said.

The one at Pollachi GH was being upgraded to benefit patients from the hilly region of Valparai and nearby areas as they found it difficult to travel to Coimbatore city, he said.

On targeted intervention, he said 30 Red Ribbon Clubs had been formed in industries, as a stand out case in Coimbatore. This was because of a high migrant worker population in the district.

“They are away from their families for a long period and therefore could come in the high-risk group,” he pointed out. Surveillance of such migrant sections would be very difficult. To get around this problem, the DAPCU identified peer educators from among the workers and trained them in carrying out sensitisation.

Condoms were stocked where the workers stayed, mostly in sheds of construction/plant sites.

Dr. Ali said that while full-blown AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) cases in the district were between 3,000 and 4,000 as per ART registry, the incidence had come down, especially in 2010 and in 2011 because of intensive targeted intervention by the unit (see table on overall incidence and among ante-natal mothers).

Dr. Ali said private hospitals and blood banks had been asked to report positive cases to the unit.

These cases were tracked and put on treatment. “We check with the ART Centres every week whether patients reported promptly for treatment,” he said.

If the positive cases were from other districts, the health authorities there would be informed.

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