More HIV cases registered in free ART clinics

New Delhi: More than 15 lakh people infected with HIV have been registered in the free anti-retroviral treatment centres across the country, the government said Friday.

"As on March 31, 2012, a total of 15,29,031 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) are registered at ART centres. Out of them, 5,16,412 eligible patients are receiving free ART," Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare S Gandhiselvan said in a written reply to a query in Lok Sabha.

He also informed the House that the free ART is being given to eligible HIV-infected patients through 335 ART centres and 725 link ART centres across the country.
Regarding the UNAIDS` recent suggestion to India to scale up its treatment facilities for such people, Gandhiselvan said, "India is committed to provide treatment facilities to all eligible PLHIVs including HIV-positive mothers and children."

The Minister also noted that the National AIDS Control Programme is focusing hard on awareness and behaviour change through various modes of communications.

"However, there is no strategy at present to include gene therapy for protection and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients at early stage of infection," he added.

Replying to a separate query, he also stated that NACO has not produced any films/spots directly, but has used nine films and 25 spots produced by partners working in the field in the past three years.