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‘State hikes funding for AIDS prevention schemes'

Special Correspondent
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Aid from external agencies coming down: KSAPS

Light moment: Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, E.V. Ramana Reddy (second from right), and Project Director of KSAPS Salma K. Fahim interacting with activists at the launch of the ‘Onde Hejje' campaign in Bangalore on Monday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan
Light moment: Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, E.V. Ramana Reddy (second from right), and Project Director of KSAPS Salma K. Fahim interacting with activists at the launch of the ‘Onde Hejje' campaign in Bangalore on Monday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

With funding from international agencies for HIV and AIDS prevention programmes tapering off, there has been a simultaneous scaling up of Government funding and integration of programmes into the existing healthcare system, M. Naina Rani, Deputy Director of Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS), has said.

Rate of HIV prevalence

Speaking at the launch of the ‘Onde Hejje' campaign here on Monday, ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, she said the rate of HIV prevalence in Karnataka had gone down from 0.89 in 2008 to 0.7 in 2010, according to the provisional HIV Sentinel Surveillance (HSS) data among pregnant women visiting antenatal clinics. It was 1.5 in 2004.

ART Plus centres

She said that at present, Karnataka had 44 anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres and that the KSAPS planned to establish four ART Plus centres in Gulbarga, Bellary, Hubli and Udupi in December to provide second-line ART drugs.

Reynold Washington, Project Director of Karnataka Health Promotional Trust (KHPT), said there had been “effective scaling up” of funding from the State's own resources as time-bound international funding was coming to an end.

Apprehensions

However, even as core HIV-related programmes such as the running of ART centres remained intact with the State stepping in, some HIV activists had apprehensions about drying up of international funding affecting outreach programmes.

Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, Saroja Putran, president of KNP Plus, a network of people living with HIV/AIDS, said that their network of 60,000 members were worried about advocacy and community outreach programmes being severely affected. She said that some people who were part of the community care network had already lost their jobs.

Next challenge

Salma K. Fahim, Project Director of KSAPS, said that the next challenge was “reaching out to vulnerable sections intimidated by insensitivity.”

There are an estimated 2.53 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS in Karnataka and the State ranks fifth among high-prevalence States in India.


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