Staff Reporter

‘AIDS threat still looms large’

Efforts of CHARCA in spreading awareness lauded

Collector administers pledge to students

GUNTUR: The district will get four more Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centres to provide drugs free of cost to the HIV/AIDS-affected, district Collector B. Ramajaneyulu said on Tuesday.

In addition to the existing two ART Centres at Guntur and Tenali, an ART Centre would be opened on the premises of Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), popularly called as Fever Hospital, in Guntur city and another ART centre at Narsaraopet. Two link ART Centres would be opened at Bapatla and Narsaraopet.

A distinction

With these, the district would have the highest number of ARTs in the State, the Collector said at a meeting marking the observance of World AIDS Day on Tuesday.

After successfully reducing the alarming prevalence rate among pregnant women from a high of 5.25 per cent in the year 2002 to a low of 1.14 per cent in the year 2009, the various nodal agencies are gearing up to take the fight by distributing second line ART drugs.

Acknowledging the role played by Coordinated HIV/AIDS Response through Capacity Building and Awareness (CHARCA) in creating awareness among adolescent women and other vulnerable groups, the Collector reminded the students that the threat of AIDS still loomed large.

Medical care

But universal access to better medical care has significantly reduced the trauma being faced by the patients and their families and promised all support to the ART Centres.

The Collector later administered a pledge to all the students.

Risk factors

Additional Director of Medical and Health Services and Nodal Officer of District AIDS Control Society Uma Devi said that though the district was able to significantly bring down the incidences of HIV/AIDS, the disease continued to pose threat in view of the high-risk factors, like home to large scale migrants, agro-based industries and passing of National Highway.

Thanks to sustained campaign, the number of those opting for voluntary testing had gone up at 60 testing centres, she said.

Mayor Rayapati Mohana Sai Krishna, MLA (East) Sk. Mastan Vali and MLC K.S Lakshmana Rao were present.

Students of various nursing colleges took out an impressive procession beginning from the Ambedkar’s Statue Centre, which ended at Venkateswara Vignana Mandiram.