Mr. A.K. Khanna with actors Rati Agnihotri and Vivek Oberoi at HIV Congress, Mumbai
Close to 700 participants from across the globe assembled to deliberate upon actionable strategies for fighting the global HIV epidemic, in the 3-day long HIV Congress 2014, held in Mumbai.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. J.K. Maniar, organising chairperson, HIV Congress 2014 commented, "The global scenario of HIV is changing day by day. Until twenty years ago, there was a huge amount of social stigma associated with HIV- patients were sceptical to consult doctors and even doctors had limited knowledge. Earlier, a patient had to consume 20-25 pills a day to survive, and still had to bear numerous side effects, along with high costs of the medicines. A lot of deaths were due to lack of early detection of the disease and the side-effects of the available drugs."
He further added, "Today, HIV has transformed into a chronic, controllable and easily manageable disease. Due to increased levels of awareness, patients seek early consultation and treatment, which automatically improves the prospects of a healthier life. Currently, a patient has to take only a single pill, with no accompanying side-effects, and at an affordable cost."
"Rolled out in 2004, National ART program has evolved from 8 ART centres to network of 1280 ART service delivery points wherein 7.5 lac patients are receiving free ART. This has changed the outlook of HIV from a death sentence to chronic manageable disease. Recently NACO has also decided to introduce 3 rd line ART in addition to 1 st and 2 nd line ART," said Dr. B.B. Rewari, national programme officer (ART) WHO/NACO. A recent initiative has been to provide multi drug ART to all positive pregnant women to ensure that no child is born with HIV.
HIV, once considered a catastrophic infection, is no more life threatening today. The credit goes to ongoing worldwide research in this area, new drugs and initiatives to raise awareness about HIV and its management.