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About ART

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The main objective of ART is, Prevention of new infections in High Risk Groups and General Population through Provision of free treatment to eligible persons (PLHAS) People Living with HIV and AIDS. The specific objectives of an ART centre are to:

  • Identify eligible persons with HIV/AIDS requiring ART through laboratory services (HIV testing, CD4 Count and other required investigations)
  • Provide free ARV drugs to eligible persons with HIV/AIDS continuously.
  • Provide counselling services before and during treatment for ensuring drug adherence.
  • Educate persons and escorts on nutritional requirements, hygiene and measures to prevent transmission of infection.
  • Refer patients requiring specialized services or admission.
  • Provide comprehensive package of services including condoms and prevention education.

HIV infection is not the end of life. People can lead a healthy life for a long time with appropriate medical care. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) effectively suppresses replication, if taken at the right time. Successful viral suppression restores the immune system and halts onset and progression of disease as well as reduces chances of getting opportunistic infections – this is how ART is aimed to work. Medication thus enhances both quality of life and longevity.

Adherence to ART is Critical
Adherence to ART regimen is therefore very vital in this treatment. Any irregularity in following the prescribed regimen can lead to resistance to HIV drugs, and therefore can weaken or negate its effect.

ART is Accessible to All
ART is now available free to all those who need it. Public health facilities are mandated to ensure that ART is provided to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). Special emphasis is given to the treatment of sero-positive women and infected children.

When is ART Given?
ART is initiated depending upon the stage of infection. PLHA with less than 200 CD4 (while blood cells/ mm3) require treatment irrespective of the clinical stage. For PLHA with 200-350 CD4, ART is offered to symptomatic patients. Among those with CD4 of more than 350, treatment is deferred for asymptomatic persons.