Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda said the Centre will continue funding the AIDS treatment costs, reversing earlier decision to stop it in major shift of policy in view of criticism from states.
Releasing the “India HIV Estimations 2015-Technical Report”, he has launched Distance Learning Programme on Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), Integrated HIV TB e-learning module, PPTCT ART Linkage Software (PALS) and HIV Sensitive Social Protection Portal on the occasion.
Nadda said the National AIDS Control Programme will continue as a Central Sector Scheme since there had been concern in some quarters about the ability of some of the States to contribute their share to the programme.
He said the integration of Prevention from Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme with the RCH programme is welcome and more than a crore women were provided with counseling and testing services under the programme to scale it up to ensure zero transmission from mother to child.
“I want every child born in this country to be free of AIDS and have the freedom to realize her dreams”, he said.
He said the health ministry has also decided that the cut-off level for initiation of Anti Retrieval Therapy (ART) will henceforth be a CD4 count of 500 to benefit an additional 1 lakh persons.
Also the government will offer third line of treatment to patients who need it, he added. “NACO has been asked to gear up for these initiatives and we hope to start actual delivery in the coming weeks”, said the Minister.
The HIV Estimation-2015 shows that India has been successful in achieving the MDG-6 of halting and reversing the HIV epidemic by 2015 as new infections have declined by 66% from 2000 and 2015, and AIDS-related deaths fallen by 54% from 2007 to 2015, he said.