Data being collected to know reasons
Officials of the medical and health department in the district are extremely worried about new cases of HIV infection detected among antenatal (before birth) clinics. “The number of new cases of HIV infections being reported in the antenatal stage is an area of deep concern.
Currently, we are collecting data and then we will analyse the cause behind the trend,” T.V.S.N. Sastry, Krishna District AIDS Control Officer told The Hindu on Sunday. The health officials are apparently pitted against a fresh challenge. A recent National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) survey indicates an overall decline of HIV/AIDS incidence. “This is similar to leprosy, which has registered a high rate of detection of new cases despite a declining trend in the overall scenario. Krishna is one of the districts in the State that has clearly shown that the incidence of HIV/AIDS has been dipping. The development will shift focus to measures of greater awareness among antenatal clinics. This would mean involving health workers at the grass-root-level like the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs),” says Dr. Sastry. The district authorities are also contemplating setting up of an additional ART centre in the city. “We are looking for a suitable place for it,” Dr. Sastry says. Besides, an ART Plus or a second line of ART, now available only at the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, is also being actively considered for the city. A switch over to the second line of ART happens after the infected person develops resistance to the first line therapy. “The second line treatment is very expensive and is beyond the affordability of the common man. This can happen only with the cooperation of the authorities of the local medical college,” says Dr. Sastry. Meanwhile, as part of this year's action plan, the State machinery has decided against scaling up of facilities at the centres. Focus will be laid on strengthening of the existing system. A move to involve private hospital managements in the anti-AIDS drive is on. “The government may make it mandatory for private hospitals to furnish information with regard to patients with major diseases. This is essential for compilation of accurate statistics,” explains Dr. Sastry.