TAMIL NADU

Clinic to treat HIV infected at Gorimedu proposed

Staff Reporter

PONDICHERRY: A separate clinic to treat people infected with HIV will come up at the TB Hospital in Gorimedu in a few months time.

The clinic with 10 beds would be a referral centre to treat post-Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) complications or problems related to ART resistance. The clinic would have a separate ward for HIV infected women, Dr Gilbert Fernandez, Project Director, Pondicherry AIDS Control Society (PACS) said.

The Health Minister E. Valsaraj launched theadministration of drug here on Monday. Ten patients were given the drug, which is free of cost, at the GH.

The ART treatment is to suppress the viral replication and it reduces the risk of disease progression and death.

Till the opening of the separate clinic, four beds would be kept apart for treating patients with complication.

At least 10 per cent of patients develop various complications once they start taking the drug, Dr Gilbert further said.

Out of the 8,400 HIV infected persons in Pondicherry, 350 have been identified for the therapy. Most of them have already registered with the Immunology clinics at GH, JIPMER and PIMS here.

A screening committee comprising of doctors from GH has been constituted to investigate these 350 patients, including 10 children.

They would be given a combination of `first line ART drugs' like starvudin, lamivudine and nevirapine in the beginning, he said.

At present there are around 300 full-blown AIDS victims and in the recent time 200 people had died due to the disease.

Though the prevalence rate among the Low Risk Group remains stagnant at 0.25 per cent over the last two years, there has been a slight increase among the High Risk Group category.

The prevalence rate among the HR, which was 3.22 per cent in 2004, has gone up to 3.6 per cent in 2005, Dr Gilbert informed.

Yanam region, which is yet to be covered in the intervention programme, would also be brought into the network by next year.

A testing centre would also be established in the region very soon, he said.