Indian health authorities are planning to provide oral substitution therapy to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS among drug addicts through needle exchange in Luthiana, Punjab.
National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) would start with oral substitution therapy and motivate drug addicts to shed use of syringes. Health employees are already being trained in this connection.
Under the oral substitution therapy for intravenous drug users (IDU), oral medicines would be given to all drug users to help them kick the habit. This would also help in reducing the risk of HIV transmission from one intravenous drug user to another. Needles are a predominant mode of spread of HIV.
Drug addicts often act careless about sharing of needles, resulting in a higher risk of contracting HIV.
75% truck drivers visit commercial sex workers, according to a study conducted by an NGO Rising Youth. It was revealed that syringes are commonly used by them. Another study, one done by Ludhiana Citizen Council, revealed that during pre-AIDS prevention intervention, it was found only 17% of the respondents had heard of HIV/AIDS and were not aware of modes of its transmission and symptoms.
Dr Geetika, district AIDS control programme officer, said this is the latest advancement, which National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) is undertaking with respect to intravenous drug use so as to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Under the oral substitution method, medicines would be given so as to control and avoid chances of HIV spread among addicts.
It is expected that the programme will take off soon as staff has already been sent for related training to Chandigarh, reports said.
Recently, NACO has announced its plan to start distributing condoms through non-traditional outlets like kirana shops, dhabas, auto workshops and barber shops in the country.
NACO has announced a major expansion of its Condom Social Marketing Programme (CSMP) to run under the aegis of the National AIDS Control Programme III (NACP-III) and cover nearly 80 per cent of the national population.
Through CSMP-III, NACO will increase the coverage area to 370 districts spread across 26 States & union territories from 294 districts last year.
The total condom volume target set by NACP III is more than 480 million condoms through 8 lakh outlets compared to 320 million condom volume targets through 5 lakh outlets of CSMP-II.
CSMP-III also targets 93 per cent of the 1300 Targeted Interventions of NACO – which represents the most concentrated areas of highest-risk groups, according to a release.
Prevention is a very important component of the AIDS control programme in India and NACO is strongly focused on this. Promoting consistent condom use amongst high-risk groups and the general population is an essential component of the prevention strategy. CSMP-III builds on the successful implementation of the programme over the last 2 years.
In the current phase of CSMP, the targets are even more ambitious. Thus, meeting these targets will play an essential part in the achievement of the objectives of National AIDS Control Programme in India.
CSMP-III is focused on increasing condom availability particularly in rural areas as well as in non-traditional outlets. This programme targets an additional 2 lakh new outlets.
Out of the total 8 lakhs outlets proposed to be covered in this phase, 5 lakhs will be non-traditional outlets like kirana shops, dhabas, auto workshops, barber shops, etc. and 4.45 lakhs outlets will be in rural areas, mirroring our intent to intensify the efforts in rural India, the release said.