The number of HIV positive patients in India has crossed 2 million but nearly one-third of them are unaware of the fact that they possess the condition, said the Union Health Ministry.
Union health ministry’s additional secretary, Health cum Director General NACO (National Aids Control Organisation) Navreet Singh Kang said the focus should be on identifying and diagnosing those who are unaware of the HIV positive status and start their treatment.
Addressing at the “HIV prevention, treatment and care programme for Punjab prisons” on Saturday in Chandigarh, Kang said, “There are nearly 21 lakh HIV positive patients in the country and about 7 lakhs of them are not even aware of their status.”
Those undergoing jail term in prisons are some of those most affected, he pointed out. Stressing the need to implement a “National Prison HIV Strategy”, he said it will be implemented in phases.
The Phase 1 was launched in February 2016 in 8 northeastern states and is now being launched for Punjab and Chandigarh prisons. It entails post-release referrals and linkages for various HIV prevention and treatment services, he said.
Punjab’s Principal Secretary Health, Vini Mahajan extended the state Health Department’s support to ensure that the prisons are provided adequate medical care for jail inmates. It will cover 8 central jails in Punjab to begin with, she said.
Principal Secretary-Home (Prisons) Sanjay Kumar said, “Initiating HIV interventions in prisons will help to halt and reverse the HIV trend in the state.”
The central government has claimed that under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), a declining trend of new HIV infection has been reported in 2015.
National AIDS Control Programme Performance on key indicators
(Till October 2015)
|1||New Targeted Interventions established||35||15*|
|2||STI/RTI patients managed as per national protocol||56 lakh||48.81 lakh|
|3||Blood collection in NACO supported blood bank||48 lakh||33.53 lakh|
|4||Proportion of blood units collected by Voluntary blood donation in NACO Supported Blood Banks||75%||78%|
|5||Districts covered under Link Worker Scheme (Cumulative)||163||130*|
|6||Clients tested for HIV (General clients)||94 lakh||82.1 lakhs|
|7||Pregnant Women tested for HIV||94 lakh||64.9 lakhs|
|8||Proportion of HIV+ pregnant Women and Babies who are initiated on Multidrug Antiretroviral regimen||85%||97.2%#|
|9||HIV-TB Cross Referrals||10 lakh||11.4 lakh|
|10||New ART Centers established||55||44|
|11||PLHIV on ART (Cumulative)||9.41||9.07 lakh|
|12||Opportunistic Infections treated||3 lakh||2.85 lakh|
|13||Campaigns released on Mass Media – TV/Radio||6||2|
|14||New Red Ribbon Clubs formed in Colleges||440||32|
|15||Persons trained under Mainstreaming training programmes||2.6 lakh||1.07 lakhs|
|16||Social Marketing of condoms by NACO contracted Social Marketing Organizations||35.2 crore
|17||Free Distribution of Condoms||29.6 crore
*till November 2015; #till September 2015
The steps taken to fine tune the Programme performance include regular review meetings, field visits and feedback provided to State AIDS Control Societies etc.