India’s NACO To Increase Access to No-Cost HIV Treatment, Testing
India for the third phase of its National AIDS Control Program, which is scheduled to begin this month, will spend 115 billion rupees, or about $2 billion, to increase access to no-cost antiretroviral drugs and HIV testing, according to a National AIDS Control Organization draft summary, the IANS/Khaleej Times reports. The first phase of the program began in 1992 and the second phase in 1999. The goal of the third phase is to "halt and reverse the epidemic in five years," according to the document (IANS/Khaleej Times, 4/13). NACO during the second phase of the program provided treatment access to 65,000 HIV-positive adults, and the organization since December 2006 has provided 3,700 HIV-positive children with treatment access. Under the third phase, the Indian government also aims to collaborate with private sector health care providers to offer HIV/AIDS treatment to an additional seven million people, including high-risk and impoverished populations (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/3). The government by 2011 also plans to provide at least 39,000 children and 300,000 people with antiretrovirals. In addition, the government has proposed setting up 5,000 new HIV testing sites with a goal of providing tests to 21 million people by 2011. The HIV prevention portion of the program plans to focus on high-risk groups, including commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and injection drug users. The prevention program also aims to increase the participation of youth and community-based organizations. All Indian districts will become authorities on how to implement the program, the IANS/Times reports (IANS/Khaleej Times, 4/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.