Free HIV/AIDS medicines are given to over three lakh patients in India afflicted with the fatal infectious disease, according to minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi.
The free HIV/AIDs medicines are supplied through 281 ART (antiretroviral therapy) centres spread across the country, Mr Trivedi told the parliament.
`’At present, a total of 335,232 patients are receiving free ART (antiretroviral therapy) at 281 centres as on June 2010,” he said.
Indian government has been providing free first line treatment to HIV patients since April 2004.
The major chunk of free ART is being provide to adults. 312,451 adults are getting this therapy, while about 20,302 children are on ART, he added.
As many as 78,592 people – 73,394 adults and 5,198 children – are receiving the free drug in Maharashtra – the highest number in the country.
Mumbai claims first in terms of prevalence and deaths due to HIV/AIDS infection in India, according to figures released by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
A total of 82950 cases of HIV infections detected in Mumbai during last 5 years of 2005-2010.
At 17219 Mumbai also has the maximum number of HIV/AIDS patients seeking treatment at ART centers. Mumbai also has the highest number of deaths reported due to HIV/AIDS during the period.
Recently, a new free HIV/AIDS treatment centre has been started functioning in the Model Colony of Pune city in Maharashtra state.
The Model Colony anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centre will become the fourth HIV/AIDS therapy centre in the Pune city.
Launched by National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), the ART centre Model Colony will provide free anti-retroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS infection to 2000 patients living with HIV who were earlier deprived of free medication.
There are over 20,000 patients with HIV/AIDS are currently waiting for free anti-retroviral therapy. As many as 21,381 have registered for anti-retroviral therapy at Sassoon Hospital.
The ART centre at NARI clinic in Bhosari has been providing drugs to 700 people.
The ART centre, set up five years ago, has 5,642 patients on medication now.
Over 9,000 patients living with HIV have been shifted to the link ART centres at Satara, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Nashik and other places in Maharashtra, officials stated.
Maharashtra is followed by Andhra Pradesh where 71, 769 people – 67,976 adults and 3,793 children – are getting the treatment.
The other states are Karnataka (44,017), Tamil Nadu (44,493), Uttar Pradesh (12,163), Delhi (7,875), Rajasthan (7,464), Manipur (5,754) and Orissa (2,503).
Normally, ART treatment starts as soon as laborbatory reports show that the HIV infected patients’ immunity boosting CD4 cell count levels begin to drop to below the minimum.
In India, ART is given to HIV/AIDS patients whose CD4 count is found less than 300 or 350, at present.