December 3, 2019
Manas Bhunia speaks on the need to improve efforts towards AIDS control and treatment
Sir, day before yesterday was World AIDS Day. There has been a lot of progress in the Government’s efforts towards controlling and treating AIDS, but a lot still needs to be done.
According to the latest data, which is from 2017, from NACO, the Government agency in charge of all anti-AIDS programmes, there are still 21.40 lakh people living with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.
There are various facets of HIV infection and one of the most important ones is the mother-to-child transmission of the virus. Considering the whole of India, though provided free of cost, only 60% of pregnant women living with HIV could access antiretroviral medicine to prevent transmission of the virus to their baby.
However, I am happy to say that Bengal had emerged number one in the country as per the results of NACO’s ‘Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV’ programme for 2017-18. This programme provided benefits to 16.5 lakh pregnant women in the State towards prevention of transmission of the HIV virus to new-born children and also provided free of cost treatment to those found HIV-positive.
On a whole, though the number of new infections is on a decline, while 79% of those living with HIV/AIDS knew their status, only 56% of people living with HIV were on treatment.
These numbers need to change for creating a healthier 21st-century India. Therefore I urge the Government to explain what further plans it has to improve upon its efforts for the control and treatment of AIDS.