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Taal – A support group by HIV infected, for HIV infected

Taal Center & Pharmacy is run by people living with HIV/AIDS for people living with HIV/AIDS.

August 3, 2006

A Pune-based support group has found a unique model to assist people infected with HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific.

Here the helping hand extended to the AIDS-inflicted is neither by a foundation nor an NGO which we are familiar with but those hit by the deadly virus themselves!

In other words it is run by people living with HIV/AIDS for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Named Taal Center & Pharmacy, the forum was established by Network of Positive People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+), Network of Maharashtra by People Living with HIV/AIDS (NMP+, NNP+) in association with Emcure.

When we realize that Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd, is one of India's leading pharmaceutical companies, Taal will also qualify to be a distinctive example of much needed corporate and public partnerships in expanding the HIV prevention and care efforts.

While Emcure ensures the pharmacies through the steady supply of a range of ARV drugs at subsidized prices apart from supporting the infrastructure requirements, as part of this corporate social responsibility initiative, NMP+, NNP+ and INP+ will manage the programme.

Those HIV+ people registered with NNP+ will avail of the benefits of the pharmacy. Apart from medicines Taal will provide consultation on treatment, counselling and advocacy to PLWHA.

"Despite initiatives by organisations like WHO & NACO there are still many numbers of PLWHA who are not receiving medication, complicated eligibility criteria, non-availability of required testing are also roadblocks. With this initiative, we are hoping to bridge a part of this gap, while ensuring that the social stigma of the illness does not pose a further barrier," opined Shivaji Barge, VP, NMP+.

In an effort to make Taal services accessible to more number of PLWHA, the second in the series of Taal centre & pharmacy is established at Nagpur. This centre will have a pharmacy, which will dispense ARV & other drugs at substantially subsidized cost for people living with HIV/AIDS and will also have counselling services and will facilitate access to medical advice regarding treatment for HIV positive people.

In the coming months the concept will be replicated in many other cities in India with high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the organizers said.

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