NAGPUR: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared its intention to bring down the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS to zero by the year 2015. Accordingly, a new drug regimen which will have three instead of one drug is being adopted in Maharashtra and some other states from this World AIDS Day. For those children who have acquired the infection, efforts are being made to improve their quality of life, and thus chances of longevity.
This was the crux of the discussion among the city’s medical fraternity during a sensitization workshop organized by city branch of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS). International consultant on HIV/AIDS from Pune Dr Vinay Kulkarni, noted physician from the city Dr Milind Bhurshundi, associate professor at IGGMC Dr Kshama Kedar and Manish Mudliar from SAATHI (Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India) were the faculties.
"Since the new regimen will come into practice soon, we wanted our members to know about the changes in treatment modalities," said IMA, Nagpur president Dr Warsha Dhawale. Explaining the new regimen and the reason for introducing it, Dr Kedar who is also the chairperson of IMA’s HIV committee said, "For preventing the transmission of virus from mother to child, we give the mother only one drug. Resistance has developed against this drug in the virus, so we will start administering three drugs to pregnant positive women."
Primary prevention measure must be to avoid unwanted pregnancy and monitor a planned one in an HIV positive woman, said Dr Kulkarni. "Once infected, it is important to link them to proper care and treatment. The new programme seems much more efficient than the previous one. Its success, however, would depend on the extent of patients covered. The most important thing is to screen all pregnant women for HIV and link all patients to proper facilities," he said.
Along with this, stress must be given on adolescent counselling to prevent new cases of the disease as India is among the top 12 countries as far as load of HIV-positive adolescents are concerned, said Dr Kedar. Agreed Dr Bhurshundi and added, "Though the prevalence of HIV is decreasing, there is another alarming trend to be concerned about. Most people affected by the disease are in the 18-24 age group and yet there is not much research or stress on these patients."
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