“Is treatment in India at par with what it is in developed countries?”

Hello doc! First of all let me congratulate you on the good work you are doing. you are the ray of light for many people like me who are searching for answers and not getting them.

My first question to you is just to know how good is the treatment at PGI in Chandigarh? I am a male in my mid 20s who got infected about 7 months ago. Currently i am residing in a Western country but want to return back to India and settle down over there. i have yet not started the treatment. I just want your honest advise on wheather I should stay where I am and get treated or get back to my hometown (Chandigarh). Is treatment in India at par with what it is in developed countries? because from what I have reserched is that if a person of my age who starts treatment before his cd4 count drops down to 350 can live for an additional 30 years or so…

Secondly, from what i know cipla makes most of the drugs for HIV in india. Is the quality of these drugs at par with those prescribed in developed countres?

My third question to you is doctor that how do i get myself enrolled in ART centre at PGI? is there a special procedure/requirements to be eligible to get free medication?

And lastly I did like to know that why WHO has recommended for developing countries to start treatment when the cd4 counts is at 200 against that of 350 in developed countries?

Thanks already for your help
May peace and good health be always with you.


First of all, thank you for your email and your queries.

We are currently however unable to comment on the level of care at PGI in Chandigarh due to our main focus of work being in Pune, Maharashtra. Also knowledge of care and support of PLHIV in Australia is limited to conferences and discussions with delegates, and on the face of it, Australia appears to be ahead in terms of care and support. But as a PLHIV I am sure you have first hand experience of the care and support system in place.

Having said that care and support in India (Chandigarh) is possible, but would need to be researched further. We could make some inquiries for you if you so wish. In context of life expectancy for PLHIV, we at Wake Up Pune are of the view that ‘Life after HIV’ is possible indefinitely, provided PLHIV learn about HIV management, keeping the immune system strong which includes the basics: Nutrition, Exercise, Rest, Positive Thinking (mental and emotional states are linked with the immune system). This is even before we explore OI (opportunistic infection) management.

Question 2: Cipla, and other Indian manufactured HIV Drugs are used globally. They are effective. Furthermore, in context of the pharma industry, most raw material for drugs come from India anyway.

Question 3: This as I indicated earlier will require further research which we could do for you if you so require it.

Question 4: The reason for the difference in CD4 counts – 200 vs 350 – in developing and developed countries respectively, is the availability of drugs. In India we have primarily 1st Line drugs from Govt. run ART centres. If ART is started earlier while the body still has relatively good resistence levels, then the body moves faster from needing 1st line drugs to the more complex 2nd line drugs . This is possible in the developed world, but not in the developing world, where even the roll out of 1st line ART is still an uphill task.

Campaigners and activists are calling for the upscaling of 2nd line ART in India as there are fatalities occuring now of PLHIV who have no access to 2nd line, but have grown resistent to 1st line.

I hope this has answered your queries. We look to be frank and open at Wake Up Pune and ensure that you make informed decisions.

Kind regards,
Dr. Punewali

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