Free ART drugs from October

KOCHI, AUG. 14. The State Government will start providing anti-retroviral treatment (ART) drugs to HIV-positive persons in the five Government medical college hospitals in the State from October.

Addressing a press meet here on Thursday, the Kerala State AIDS Control Society Director, Bharat Bhusan, said the medicines were expected to provide HIV-positive persons better management of their lifestyle by considerably prolonging full-blown AIDS conditions.

These drugs are usually prescribed when the white blood cell (WBC) count in blood becomes less that 200 per cubic millimetres. The Government has earmarked Rs.1.65 crores for distributing the medicines on the estimation that there are 75,000 to one lakh HIV cases in the State. Of these, 1,700 are AIDS patients. The State has so far reported about 600 AIDS deaths.

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