HIV counselling, testing go mobile in State

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu State AIDS Controls Society (TANSACS) will roll out a fleet of vans next week to reach HIV counselling and testing facilities to remote villages across the State.

A fleet of 10 mobile Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) vehicles is scheduled to be flagged off by Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam on November 16. In addition to these, two vans will be pressed into service to implement Information, Education and Communication campaigns in Chennais urban slums.

This is said to be the first instance of a State-sponsored initiative of ICTCs going mobile.
“Mainstream testing”

“The idea is to mainstream testing across population profiles,” says Supriya Sahu, TANSACS member secretary.

The vans will be introduced in the Nilgiris, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Thiruvannamalai, Coimbatore and Salem districts, that have substantial tribal population.

The District Collectors have been authorised to draw up a day-to-day coverage plan. Apart from testing, the vehicles will also disseminate HIV/AIDS pamphlets and other awareness material in rural schools, colleges and Self-Help Groups.

Each van will have a counsellor and a lab technician. Apart from a refrigerator and auto analyser, the vehicles will also house facilities for basic blood tests.

The aim is to use a blood sample to screen for a host of disorders ranging from anaemia to diabetes even though the overall focus is on HIV testing.

The campaign-on-wheels initiative targeted at rural and remote segments comes at a time when Tamil Nadu has registered a record increase in the number of people reporting for voluntary HIV testing. While an estimated 10.4 lakh people took the rapid tests last year, more than 15 lakh persons have already reported at the over 760 ICTCs this year.

(www.hindu.com)



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