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India opens new free AIDS therapy centres

May 21, 2006

As part of its ambitious programme to provide free treatment to around 2 lakh AIDS patients by the next four years, the government of India is setting up more ART centres across the country.

By the middle of next month, nearly fifty new ART (Antiretroviral Treatment ) Centers for AIDS patients will go functional in those states where the density of HIV-infected population is more, according to government sources.

ART is the standard treatment regimen offered to HIV positive patients with combination of drugs which could arrest the growth and proliferation of the virus in the body.

Among the new ART centres, Andhra Pradesh and Karanataka will get eight centres each as these southern states register higher incidence of HIV infections, of late.

Five ART centres will go to Maharashtra as the state currently has the highest number of HIV infected people in India and two each for Manipur, Nagaland, Kerala, Punjab, Bihar and one each in Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Assam, Orissa, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Uttranchal, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. 

Each of these centres will be manned by two doctors, one counselor, one lab technician, one data entry operator and a pharmacist. The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) will provide the funds, training of professionals and other infrastructure like diagnostic equipment such as CD4 count machines, reagents and drugs.

At present fifty four centres are already operational in the country providing free treatment to 28,665 patients. With the addition of new centres the government aims to provide free treatments for around 85,320 patients during the current year.

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