Effective treatment of all HIV patients key to end AIDS in India: ASICON

Health |  IANS  | Published :

New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Treating all HIV-positive patients properly to suppress the virus can reduce the transmission of the deadly virus and help India to end AIDS, said Mumbai-based epidemiologist Ishwar Gilada.

"We can end AIDS now as science has shown us the evidence on how to stop the spread of HIV infection and keep people living with HIV healthy. If all people can secure the full range of HIV combination prevention, testing, treatment and care services they need, then we can arrest the further spread of infection along with helping people with HIV lead a healthy and productive life. To end AIDS, we need to ensure that no one is excluded," said Gilada, President Emeritus at the 15th National Conference of the AIDS Society of India (ASICON 2024).

The two-day 15th ASICON, being held in Kochi from March 22-24 is themed 'Informs, Reforms and Transforms HIV-care'.

India has the second largest population in the world with HIV. Out of the estimated 24.67 lakh people living with HIV in India, 16.80 lakhs are receiving lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, as per a National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) report 2023.

About 79 per cent of the 24.67 lakh people know their HIV-positive status, 86 per cent of those who know they are positive are receiving antiretroviral therapy, and out of those receiving the therapy, 93 per cent are virally suppressed.

"Every person with HIV who is on treatment should get the viral load test regularly as it is important to ensure that the person is (and remains) virally suppressed, untransmittable, and healthy," said Gilada, who was the first person to raise the alarm on HIV in India and established India's first AIDS Clinic in JJ Hospital Mumbai in 1986.

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