Staff Correspondent

HUBLI: All people with HIV do not require Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), according to Gomadi, ART Medical Officer of Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS).

Inaugurating the “Promote Access to Treatment Campaign” here on Wednesday, he said that all those who had the virus need not start ART. HIV positive people could lead a normal life for many years without ART if they followed a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition.

“ART, the multi-drug therapy, prolongs the life of people living with HIV and improves the quality of their life. But it is given to only those whose CD-4 count is less than 200, according to World Health Organisation guidelines,” he clarified.

Umesh Hallikari, in-charge officer of KIMS Blood Bank, said more people should come forward to utilise testing facilities such as VCTC and PPTCTC, that were available in government and in some private hospitals.

Discrimination

“Only when more people with HIV come out in the open will the stigma and discrimination reduce,” said Dr. Hallikeri. Karpurmath, former District Health Officer, stressed the need for conducting more awareness programmes. Shubhamangala, board member of the Karnataka Network of Positive People (KNP+) and former president of the district network, shared her experience.

Vinod Kalal, Imambi Nadaf, Shankar and Basavaraj Balegal shared their views and explained how they were helped initially to overcome the stigma attached to HIV positive people and lead a normal life.

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