About

Test and Treat Policy for HIV Positive People

Test and Treat Policy for HIV Positive People


Article contributed by subscriber: Dr. Ritika Jangra, Gynaecologist, New Delhi

 

 

In the late April this year, our government has launched a new policy for HIV positive people under which anyone (men, women, adolescents and children), who is diagnosed and found positive will get the essential treatment. This Test and Treat Policy will certainly improve the quality of life of those infected individuals and will further save them from numerous opportunistic infections such as Influenza, Tuberculosis and other.

 

In India, there are around 2.1 million people infected with HIV, out of which only 1.4 million are aware of their infection.

 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) destroys the CD4 T cells in the human body that strengthen immunity. CD4 T is a type of lymphocyte (CD4 cells) which helps to coordinate the immune response by stimulating other immune cells, such as B lymphocytes (B cells), CD8 T lymphocytes (CD8 cells) and macrophages, to fight infection. HIV infected people, who have below 200 CD4 cell count, are at the major risk of developing serious ailments.

 

Previously, the government was providing free treatment to people with a count of 400 and below. But with the launch of “Test and Treat Policy for HIV”, the government now offers free treatment such as antiretroviral therapy (ART) to HIV infected people; irrespective of their CD4 cell count or clinical stage.

 

A recent study from clinical trials confirmed that early use of ART helps people living with HIV to be more alive and healthier, and lessens the risk of transmitting the virus to their partners. At present, there are nearly 1600 ART and Link ART sites across the country where the free lifelong treatment for HIV is provided.

 

Our government commits to intensify their effort to reach out all people living with HIV in the community and test them where they are, with proper counselling and consent. "Test and Treat Policy for HIV" is one of the finest policy among them. This strategy will certainly help to boost Universal Health Coverage as a part of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also appreciated the "Test and Treat Policy for HIV" launched by the Government of India.