The Centre will soon include Third Line therapy for persons living with HIV in the government’s Anti-Retroviral Treatment programme.

Preliminary work has begun in this regard and the process is expected to be completed in eight to 10 months, Lov Verma, Secretary, Department of AIDS Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said on Saturday.

Third line drugs are said to be the only succour for HIV-affected who have become resistant to second line drugs. 

At present, patients requiring third line treatment are forced to go to the private sector for treatment.

The government would have to identify the number of patients who need such treatment before it can place orders for the medicines and formulate a budget, he told The Hindu on the sidelines of the Launch Workshop of National Data Analysis Plan under National AIDS Control Programme-IV held here.

The Technical Research Group (TRG) had taken the government’s suggestion to include third line treatment and approval was received only last week.

The TRG has now been asked to submit a timeline for the project, after which it will be sent to the finance department for approval, he said.

It is expected that the third line treatment will be included in next year’s budget.

Speaking on the Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission scheme, Mr. Verma said the Department of AIDS Control would roll out the programme this year.

In the first year, it expects to cover 90 per cent of the problem districts, and the entire country should be covered by next year, he said.

Currently, training and preparation for the PPTCT is under way, which would be rolled out in a phased manner.

The PPTCT is already in place in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The Department of AIDS Control would soon be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Information and Technology to explore different advocacy methods, he said. It had already signed MoUs with the Ministry of Shipping and six other Ministries.

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