World Aids Day 2020: No increase of HIV patients in MP

Madhya Pradesh did not see a significant increase in the number of HIV patients in the last two years. As per Union health ministry report issued this September 20,  the state reported 0.59 lakh patients in 2018 and 2019. The HIV epidemic has an overall decreasing trend in the country with estimated annual New HIV infections declining by 37 per cent between 2010 and 2019. As per the government’s latest HIV estimates report (2019), India is estimated to have around 23.49 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV).

Unlike dedicated medical facilities for Covid-19, the country doesn’t have any hospital solely meant for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients. Under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), as of July 2020, there are 570 Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) Centers and 1264 Link ART Centers.

HIV infection in the country is mainly caused by engagement in high risk behaviours. The main high-risk behaviours identified for HIV infection in country includes unprotected heterosexual behaviour, unprotected homosexual behaviour, and unsafe injecting drug use behaviour.

Union Health minister Dr Harshvardhan, addressing Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC) in September this year, spoke on how India protected the gains made in HIV prevention during the Covid-19 pandemic. “The Government of India took swift and timely action by involving communities, civil society, development partners to reach out to the last mile with a robust implementation plan for Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) dispensation. The Government also linked key populations and People living with HIV (PLHIV), to various social welfare schemes. Advisories and guidance notes were issued by NACO from time to time aligned with global guidelines in the context”, he stated.

He further said, “With support from Non-Government Organizations, the programme is aimed at providing outreach, service delivery, counselling & testing and ensuring linkages to HIV care. India’s prevention model can be adopted and scaled up in many countries by tailoring the intervention as per local settings. It can also be replicated in other prevention and disease control programmes.”

Member States of GPC had agreed to reduce new adult HIV infections by 75 per cent at the end of 2020 from 2010 levels.

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