Union Health Minister JP Nadda has launched the Test and Treat policy for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) patients. As per this new policy, anyone who is tested and found positive will get the necessary treatment free of cost. Anyone found positive will be provided with ART (Anti- Retroviral Therapy) irrespective of his CD count. The scheme will be a centrally sponsored scheme. All men, women, adolescents and children who have been diagnosed positively can benefit under this new policy. HIV destroys the CD4 T cells in the human body and weakens the immunity levels. A person who has CD4 cell count below 200 is considered to be at significant risk of developing serious illnesses. Before the announcement of this new policy, the government was providing free treatment to people with a count of 400 and below.
The government is set to soon launch a National Strategic Plan for HIV for the next seven years, which will be significant for ending AIDS. Recently, the government also passed the long-pending HIV/AIDS Act. The HIV/AIDS Act has the key provisions such as the prohibition of discrimination, informed consent, non-disclosure of HIV status, anti-retroviral therapy and opportunistic infection management, protection of property of affected children, safe working environment and provision for the appointment of ombudsman in every state. In India, around 21 lakh people are estimated to have HIV. Out of them, only about 14 lakh people have been identified yet. To identify the remaining cases, the government has revised national HIV testing guidelines. Recently, the treatment provided by about 1,600 ART and Link ART sites have crossed the 1 million people mark making the country the second in the world to have such large number of people on free lifelong treatment.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus. It is also known as human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III), lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), and AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV). Transmission of HIV involves anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, an exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.