India to follow new test and treat policy for HIV patients

The National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI 2017-24 has been approved in India by the government in June 2017

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New Delhi: The central government has launched the ‘Test and Treat Policy for HIV patients’ in April 2017. As per this policy, all people living with HIV (PLHIV) are to be treated with Antiretro Viral Therapy regardless of the CD4 count, clinical stage, age or population. The National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI 2017-24 has been approved in June 2017.

The strategies under National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI 2017-24 include accelerating HIV prevention in key population and ‘at risk group’, expanding quality assured HIV testing with universal access to comprehensive HIV care, elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis, addressing the critical enablers in HIV programming and restructuring the strategic information system to be efficient and patient-centric.

A total of 536 Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) centres are providing ART treatment across the country.

As per HIV estimation 2015, India is estimated to have 21 lakhs people infected with HIV and 15.2 lakhs PLHIV know their HIV status through the strategy of scaling up of HIV counseling & testing services in  23,019 health facilities.

The National Guidelines on HIV Counselling & Testing Services were revised in Dec 2016. They include the HIV screening through trained ancillary health care provider in the community-based setting for priority population including High-Risk Groups, TB suspect & patients, STI/RTI attendees, sexual partners/ spouses of PLHIV, prison inmates, pregnant women, adolescent age group etc.