NACO call to report each HIV case fails to click with pvt docs

In a bid to check resistance to anti-HIV drugs, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) had two years ago appealed private practitioners treating HIV patients to report each case but the response has been poor, revealed Dr B B Rewari, national programme officer, NACO to The Indian Express.

Two years ago, following a directive of the apex court, NACO had written to Medical Council of India to direct private doctors to report details about HIV patients being treated either on first- or second-line drug regimen. "This was done to contain increase in resistance to drugs, in the private health sector," Rewari said.

MCI had written to state medical councils to direct doctors treating HIV patients to report each case to NACO to check prescriptions recommended for anti retroviral therapy.

According to Rewari, initially a small database was prepared but two years later there has been virtually no response from private practitioners. "Since HIV is not a notifiable disease, NACO officials admitted they could not take the project further beyond appeals to doctors." "However, there are 42 second-line ART centres that have been set up and more have been planned to ensure patients who have not responded to first-line drugs can get treatment," Rewari said.

While NACO will officially make an announcement in the decline in HIV prevalence, Rewari said there has been a significant decrease and the percentages are likely to come down. Out of 2.3 million people with HIV, we have reached out to 5.6 lakh who are presently on ART. More than 5,000 people are being given second line of ART. There has also been a drop in number of HIV-TB co-infection cases. Out of an estimated 14 lakh TB infections, at least 90,000 have HIV, he said.

According to Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society project director Ramesh Deokar, 578 integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTCs) in the state have referred 90,817 persons to check for TB under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). Till September this year, 1,290 TB patients in the state were diagnosed with HIV and 36,407 TB patients were referred to ICTCs for checking for HIV. The focus now is on preventing the disease among men having sex with men (MSM), migrant workers and injecting drug users (IDUs).

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