Second-line treatment for HIV patients at PGI

Even as the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) reached the crucial benchmark of providing first line treatment to more than thousand persons living with HIV/AIDS in the city, it has plans to provide second line treatment in PGI from December 1 – the World AIDS Day.

Second-line treatment is required for patients who are resistant to the first line. As of now, out of 150 anti-retroviral centres across the country, only two centres were offering these drugs. Now, PGI will offer this treatment, said care support and treatment consultant, State AIDS Control Society (SACS).

As per the NACO figures, over 1.62 lakh persons living with HIV+ are enrolled in 150 anti-retroviral centre for the treatment across the country. Till now, only 15 per cent were getting second line treatment, as this drug therapy was available only in Mumbai and Chennai. President of Chandigarh Netwok, Pooja Thakur, said almost 3,500 persons living with HIV/AIDS were registered at ART, the PGI and out of those, 100 needed second-line drug therapy.

Tribune News Service

“I need the second-line treatment for living and being able to raise my eight-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. I want to live long enough to see my children grow up. I want to live for her. I am very happy as the NACO will provide this treatment in PGI,” said Amanpreet, an HIV positive mother.

According to experts, the drug will help people in containing the deadly virus and perhaps stop them from moving to the AIDS-level. Though this single parents CD4 count, used to assess immune status, susceptibility to opportunistic infections, need for ART and for defining AIDS (if CD4 count is less than 200) is over 600, she has suffered severe weight loss in the past one year. The cost of second-line treatment is Rs 5,000-15,000 but it would be available free of cost to the patients who are enrolled at ART centres, said officials of SACS. Amanpreet, like hundreds of others in the region, was waiting for the NACO programme to roll out .

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