NOIDA (Uttar Pradesh): Experts on HIV and AIDS have warned that over 50 percent of HIV infections are among people below the age of 30.
Participating in an Amity Science Technology and Innovation Foundation (ASTIF)-AIDS Society of India organised national symposium, Dr. V. M. Katoch, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR), said HIV and AIDS is spreading very rapidly in the country, especially in pockets which may not be monitored, making it a matter of high concern.
Dr. Katoch stressed that with the treatment of HIV and AIDS becoming easily accessible, there is a lurking danger of treatment being misused just like it happened in the case of TB.
He added that the democratization of TB treatment resulted in the virus mutations that spread rapidly affecting the resistance of the patients, thereby, leading to a medically created disaster.
Dr. Katoch said the information generated about HIV and AIDS needs to be converted into technology that lead to newer therapies and alternative therapies so as to be within the reach of everybody.
Presenting his study on “ Timely, Optimal, Efficient and Comprehensive Care Changes Lives of HIV +ve People”, Dr. I S Gilada, President, AIDS Society of India revealed that in a country with over 2.5 million HIV infected people, there are not even 100 full time doctors and around 1000 part time doctors in HIV practice in private sector.
He also revealed that only 60 percent of sex workers are reached with HIV prevention program and 40 percent of them identify correct ways of using prevention methods.
He said that half of the infected people do not know their HIV status. Only 30% of the infections are recorded at NACO due to inherent flaws in the reporting system.
Dr. I S Gilada suggested that state-run and NGO programs need to be critically evaluated, best practices should be replicated, three tier but not free for all ART (Anti-Retro-viral Treatment) should be provided and vulnerability of women and children should be reduced.
Dr. Ruby Bansal, Head of Department for AIDS, Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital, Ghaziabad, said immense funding is required to set up treatment centers for HIV+ patients.
She also said that the lack of awareness, prejudice, conservative outlook towards sex and a deep-rooted stigma are the major reasons the spread of this disease.
Even some doctors keep patients at arm’s length and even deny treatment because of their prejudice, she added.
Dr. Bansal said that a combined effort from private as well as public sector is the best possible option to deal with this pandemic.
Dr. Bansal advised young and old likewise to get tested for HIV infection anytime they have doubts or contact a professional to answer their queries.
Dr. Geeta Gupta- Assistant Professor- Institute of Dental Studies and Technologies, Modinagar, presented an overview of the oral manifestations of AIDS, infection prevention and control in the dental sphere.
She conveyed that 90 percent of people living with HIV develop atleast one dental problem, and added that it is often the dentist who will be the first to identify an oral manifestation of HIV.
Eminent speakers who presented their research papers during the two day symposium included Dr. B.B. Rewari- Associate Professor of Medicine at PGIMER and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, NACO, New Delhi on “Epidemiological Situation of HIV/AIDS in India”, Prof. Sarman Singh - Head of Clinical Microbiology Division, AIIMS, New Delhi on “Viral Confections in HIV-1 Infected Patients”, Dr. Akhil C. Banerjea- Senior Scientist, Chair of Virology Department, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India on “HIV-1 Biology, Replication, Pathogenesis and Gene therapy”; Dr. A. H. Bandivdekar- Deputy Director and Head, Department of Biochemistry and Virology, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Mumbai on “Challenges in Management of HIV/AIDS due to Viral Variation” and others.