More antiretroviral therapy (ART) centres, extension of the link worker scheme to all districts, and inclusion of nutritional support and travel allowance schemes in the national HIV/AIDS programme are what the Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) is hoping to get under the fourth National AIDS Control Programme (NACP IV).
KSAPS project director Manoj Kumar Tripathi told The Hindu that NACP IV, which was pending before the Union Cabinet, was likely to be announced by mid-October. It was aimed at zero infection, zero stigma and zero death, he said.
The third NACP ended in April 2012 and announcement of the fourth plan has been delayed by 17 months.
Mr. Tripathi said the State, which has 55 ART centres, now required at least 10 more as the number of people being put on the therapy was increasing. “According to the latest prevalence rate of 0.5 per cent, nearly 3 lakh people are infected. With just 1 lakh of these on ART, we expect a rise in the number of people who may require the therapy in the coming days,” he said.
This apart, there will be a drastic jump in the number of people on ART once the World Health Organization’s new guidelines for treatment of HIV are implemented. According to the guidelines that mandate early treatment, ART should be started earlier than stipulated now, when the patient’s immunity level is still strong.
The link worker scheme, running in eight districts of Karnataka, has helped in early detection of HIV cases. “We have asked for the extension of this scheme to all districts as it will further help in proper and early management of the infection,” Mr. Tripathi said.
The State government is currently providing travel allowance to people who need to visit ART centres for treatment. Nearly Rs. 80 lakh is being spent on this scheme every month. This, along with the proposal to provide nutritional support to patients (which requires around Rs. 2 crore monthly), should be included in the national programme, Mr. Tripathi said.
According to statistics provided by the KSAPS, the current percentage of adult HIV prevalence in the State remained at 0.51, with nearly 3 lakh infected people.
While 35,442 new positive cases were detected in 2012–13, 13,521 cases have been detected from January till August 13 this year.
56 per cent decline
Overall, the country has seen a 56 per cent decline in new infections. The number has reduced from 2.7 lakh new infections in 2001 to 1.27 lakh new infections in 2010.