NACO discusses new HIV testing policies

To spread awareness about AIDS among public health workers, the National AIDS Control Society (NACO), Chandigarh, organised a 'Full site sensitization programme on HIV/AIDS' at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).

Conducted by the State Reference Laboratory, Department Of Immunopathology, the programme was attended by more than 100 healthcare workers, including the faculty and the students.

Dr Archana Mohan, Consultant, State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh presented a lecture giving an overview of the national AIDS control programme. This was followed by a session on 'HIV diagnosis in adults and new born children' conducted by Dr Sunil Arora, Professor In-charge of State Reference Laboratory, PGI wherein he discussed the national HIV testing policies and laid emphasis on ICTC-based testing as per NACO guidelines.

Dr Aman Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, PGI deliberated on various treatment modalities available and the importance of post-exposure prophylaxis in reducing the chances of HIV transmission in health care settings.

Various measures to reduce the chances of transmission of HIV from infected mother to her newly born child were discussed by Dr Rashmi Bagga, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Speaking about the benefits of HIV screening of ante-natal mothers, she said that the use of anti-retroviral drugs during pregnancy and at the time of childbirth in HIV positive females can bring down the chances of HIV transmission down from 30 per cent to less than 2 per cent.

A session on bio-safety precautions in health care was also conducted by Dr Vikas Gautam, Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology. The programme concluded with a session on 'Care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS' by Professor Rajesh Kumar, Head of School of Public Health, PGI.

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