The Government will introduce third line ART (anti-retroviral treatment) for all those who fail on second line ART under the phase four of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), which has been formally launched with a budget outlay of Rs.14,295 crore.
The Union health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here on Wednesday formally launched the NACP-IV that aims to accelerate the process of epidemic reversal and further strengthen the epidemic response in India through a cautious and well defined integration process over the five-year period, 2012- 2017. It consolidates the gains of NACP III and has a budget outlay of Rs.14,295 crore. The total government support is Rs.11,394 crore forming 63 per cent of total share.
He also announced two new steps to boost AIDS treatment efforts in the country under the phase. Accordingly, the eligibility for receiving ART has been revised from CD4 level of 350 to 500. This step will ensure that HIV positive persons are initiated on treatment at an early stage and while enhancing their longevity and productivity, it will contribute to preventing new infections as well. Another major decision is the introduction of Third Line ART for all those who fail on second line ART under the programme.
Reducing stigma and discrimination against HIV infected and affected persons and families will be another high focus area for the coming years, said an official release. The health minister also informed that HIV/AIDS Bill has been successfully tabled in Rajya Sabha during the ongoing parliament session. He said that that once the bill is passed it will provide a very robust framework under which the rights of PLHIV are fully protected and they lead a life without stigma and discrimination.
The key priorities of NACP IV will include preventing new infections, prevention of parent to child transmission, focus on IEC strategies for behaviour change in HRG, creating awareness among general population, etc. Some of the new initiatives under NACP IV include differential strategies for districts based on data triangulation with due weightage to vulnerabilities, scale up of Opoid Substitution Therapy for IDUs, Female Condom Programme, Multi Drug Regimen for PPTCT in keeping with international protocols, establishment of Metro Blood Banks and Plasma Fractionation Centre, etc., the release said.
Wider access to ART has led to 29 per cent reduction in estimated AIDS related deaths during NACP- III. NACP has evolved to a great extent through the time, according to minister of state for health Santosh Chowdhary. She said that there is need to continue and sustain efforts to remove this scourge. Society also needs to be more open to discuss it and control it.
Lov Verma, secretary, Department of AIDS Control, said that the third line of treatment which is commitment of Government will hopefully be rolled up by 1st April and he termed acceptance of guidelines of WHO as one of the major achievements. He highlighted that NACP IV involves partnership of national and international partners, there is community participation and it is a quality driven programme.