In an endeavour to formulate India-specific treatment guidelines for HIV patients, a group of medical professionals here has set up an organisation which will offer an in-depth clinical training to its members from this year.

Named ‘HIV Medicine Association of India’ (HIV-MAI), the new body will impart clinical training to doctors in order to enable them to offer effective treatment suited to Indian conditions rather than relying on western guidelines which have been found inadequate to address the HIV cases in India, according to Dr Sanjay Pujari, director, HIV-MAI.

“The new organisation has already tied up with international training partners which include ‘HIV Treatment Resourced Initiative (HIVTRI)’, a UK based NGO to impart clinical training with international experts as instructors,” he told PTI.

Underlining the need to launch the new initiative, Dr Pujari, who has been offering support to HIV/AIDS patients in Maharashtra for many years, said, “’American Foundation for AIDS Research’ (AMFAR) and ‘Treat Asia’ organisations have, in a report released recently, recognised this training gap and shortage of HIV specialists. Our own needs assessment showed that over 90 per cent doctors treating HIV/AIDS patients agree that more training and India specific guidelines are necessary.”

Explaining the risks that entail faulty line of treating HIV patients in India, Pujari said, “AMFAR report is very clear that using HIV drugs incorrectly could actually make the epidemic worse in India.”

The report, as quoted, says “the combination of increasingly available drugs to treat HIV disease and the lack of trained doctors to administer them could lead to widespread misuse and eventually to drug resistance, eradicating years of progress in treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS across the region.”

“Our mission statement emphasises that all people in India with HIV/AIDS deserve uniform, quality care,” Dr Pujari said adding “while there are many HIV and AIDS NGOs in India, none of them are specifically for doctors and none of them focus on developing India-specific, evidence-based treatment guidelines for patient management.”

Dr N Kumarasamy, one of the HIV specialists associated with the venture said, “We need to engage in India-specific clinical research and clinical trials so that our treatment standards continue to improve and reflect India’s unique conditions pertaining to the pandemic’s attributes here.”

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