Community care centres for HIV/AIDS-affected in Vellore

Special Correspondent

VELLORE: The Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) has approved establishment of three community care centres for persons affected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the district, according to Collector Dharmendra Pratap Yadav.

Administering a pledge to support the HIV-positive and AIDS-affected persons and to frame new rules required for improving the living conditions of the people at a special programme ‘Ini Oru Vidhi Seyvom’ (let us frame a new rule) organised by the office of the Deputy Director of Health Services (DDHS), and the Field Publicity Office, Vellore, here on Monday, Mr. Yadav said the centres would have all medical facilities required for AIDS-affected persons.

Each centre, which would be run by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), would have a minimum of 10 beds and would be equipped with 15 persons including doctors, nurses and para-medical staff. Seventeen NGOs had applied for permission to set up the centres. A district-level selection committee headed by the Collector would inspect the NGOs and then select three groups for the TANSACS grant.

The Collector said that while there was good awareness of HIV among high-risk groups, it was lacking among the public. Thanks to the information, education and communication (IEC) activities carried out by the Government and the NGOs, the incidence of AIDS had come down. The incidence in Tamil Nadu had come down to 0.38 per cent, while in Vellore district, it had come down to 0.17 per cent, as per the randomised sentinel surveillance conducted in 2006. The incidence of AIDS-affected persons, which was as high as five per cent of the population in Namakkal district, one of the AIDS-prone districts, came down to 0.75 per cent last year thanks to effective IEC activities.

Anti-Retroviral Therapy drugs were being given free to the affected persons, and there was a good scope for prevention of transmission from parent to child through counselling and treatment of pregnant mothers in the Integrated Testing and Counselling Centres.

S. Rajasekaran, DDHS, Vellore, inaugurated the programme. V. Munirathinam, Joint Director of Health Services presided. Raja Sivanandam, Deputy Director of Medical Services (TB), V. Palani Bhuvaneswari, Superintendent, ESI Hospital, Vellore, and Mallika Chandran, Director, WHEEL participated.

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