TAMIL NADU

Panel to study anti-retro viral therapy for HIV

Chennai Dec. 4. The State Government has appointed a committee to consider introducing an Anti-Retro Viral Therapy Policy for all persons living with HIV/AIDS, the Health Minister, S. Semmalai, has said.

At present, ARV drugs are not being administered to patients, who will receive treatment only for opportunistic infections in government hospitals.

The committee, under the chairmanship of K. Deenabandu, Director, Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, will examine the ramifications of introducing ARV treatment including financial implications and mode of administering the therapy, and also go into training of medical professionals and installing infrastructure such as CD4 counters in hospitals.

At a conference organised by the TNSACS on the occasion of AIDS Day on Sunday, the Minister was responding to demands made by the Indian Network of Positive Persons (INP+), the Tamil Nadu Network of Positive Persons (TNP+) and the Positive Network of Women (PWN+). During the interaction, chaired by Director of Public Health, P. Krishnamurthy, members urged the State to provide ARV treatment free of cost at all government hospitals.

The Health Secretary, Girija Vaidyanathan, said it was necessary to adopt the slogan `Live and Let Live' in order to de-stigmatise the situation for persons living with HIV/AIDS. The UNICEF consultant, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programme, P. Kuganantham, said that in addition to providing ARVs, it was essential to guard against opportunistic infections and avoid contracting infections of malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea, which impacted on the viral load.

More than 400 persons participated in the day-long conference.

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