Union Government launched HIV Salvage Therapy
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched third-line drug therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS and extended free Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) to more of them by revising the eligibility norm.
- The third-line therapy also known as salvage or rescue therapy is prescribed for people who have limited drug options left.
At the launch of the National AIDS Control Programme Phase IV (2012-2017), Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad stated that:
- For receiving free ART, the minimum CD4-count limit reduced from 500 to 350. The count is a measure of the viral load.
- The highly expensive therapy (Third-Line Therapy) would enhance longevity and improve the quality of life of patients and will also be provided free of charge to patients.
The Union Government has also tabled the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, in the Rajya Sabha to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and to protect the human rights of people living with it.
- The Bill seeks to prohibit any kind of discrimination against the infected person — for instance, denial or termination of employment or occupation, unfair treatment, denial of access to any sector and forcible HIV testing.
- Currently, India is estimated to have 2.39 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
Note: ART consists of the combination of at least three Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.