Mumbai: Sex workers to get new Antiretroviral Therapy centre in Kamathipura

Mumbai: In a first of its kind, the Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) is soon starting with a new Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) centre for hundreds of sex workers at the Kamathipura which is the largest brothel of Mumbai. The officials said that this centre will help to give better treatment to the sex workers and will also reduce the patient load on Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy and Nair Hospitals where sex workers have to rush for medicines and treatment.

Earlier, the HIV patients had to travel JJ and Nair hospitals for the treatment due to which they used to bare lose in their business which discourages them to continue with the treatment. A senior doctor said once the centre is a ready for a number of people would come forward for treatment as they do not have to travel far. “More than 250 sex workers are undergoing treatment at ART centres which is located in premises of Nair and JJ hospital, We are expecting by December 1, the ART centre would be ready for the sex workers of Kamathipura,” said Dr Srikala Acharya, additional project director of MDACS.

The workers of Non-Governmental Organisation said it is very hard to convince them to continue with the treatment as it is time-consuming which affects their daily business. “They stop going for treatment as they complete their one month course due to which we requested MDACS to start an ART centre in this area so that it will be easy for them to continue with their treatment and does not affect their daily business,” said one of the members of NGO.

The experts said that green cards is been provided to the HIV but often these sex workers lose it and for making new they have to struggle a lot. “Once the centre is started all the details of the sex workers and partners will be registered in the centre due to which it will be easy to trace them even if they discontinue the treatment. It will also help in controlling drop out rate,” said member.

The number of patients is decreasing due to awareness programs run by the government and non-governmental organizations about HIV. In the last 5 years, the number of HIV cases have gone down by 47 percent.  Dr Acharya said “There has been a significant drop in HIV cases among sex workers due to growing awareness about safe sex. This has helped in the overall safety of Mumbaikars from HIV infections.”

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