With mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) being the highest cause of HIV infection in children in India, the State Health Department is all set to launch a new effective regime for prevention of MTCT on January 3.
According to the latest report by the UNICEF, while new HIV infections in children are down, reaching the goal of an AIDS-free generation requires more HIV positive pregnant women to receive anti-retroviral treatment. This is to decrease the risk of infection for their babies, the report said.
As per the report, over 14,000 children were infected with HIV in 2011 and over 10,000 deaths of children up to four years have been reported during the year.
Upbeat about the decline in HIV prevalence in the State, from 1.2 per cent to 0.63 per cent in 2011, the government is now making a determined effort to prevent mother-to-child-transmission. Health and Family Welfare Minister Aravind Limbavali will announce the adoption of World Health Organisation’s (WHO) MTCT regime in the State on January 3.
Giving details about the programme, Health Director B.N. Dhanya Kumar told The Hindu that the new regime was as per NACO guidelines under the National AIDS Control Programme — phase III (NACP III).
The department will also launch free travel facilities for those afflicted with HIV, who are taking anti-retroviral therapy (ART). “Although such a system was in place earlier, the bus passes issued to the persons revealed their HIV status in public. So we have now put in place a system where those coming to the district ART centres for treatment can get their conveyance expenses reimbursed,” Dr. Kumar said.
He said a proposal to cover the person’s wage loss for a day (when he/she has to miss work to avail ART treatment) was also on the cards.