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Clinton to donate ART drugs to HIV infected children

On the eve of World AIDS Day, the former US president, Bill Clinton will be donating antiretroviral drugs to children who are suffering from HIV. 10,000 pediatric doses of these drugs will be formally donated to Sonia Gandhi, who is the UPA chairperson, on Thursday, November 30th.

She will also be launching the National Paediatric HIV/AIDS Initiative where different facilities for the protection and care of HIV infected children will be offered. An official from the National AIDS Control Organisation, (NACO) said: "We have purchased 85,320 adult doses of ART and are getting 10,000 paediatric ART doses free from the Clinton Foundation. Till October, we had put 44,000 people on ART. The number now stands at 51,500."

"On the eve of World AIDS Day, we will launch a scheme to provide free treatment to HIV infected children. We estimate there are around 65,000 kids with HIV infection, out of an estimated 5.2 million HIV people in the country," said the Health minister, Anbumani Ramadoss who will be present there.

NACO Director General, Sujatha Rao said: "This is the first time that we are launching a initiative that targets the children specifically. She said that seven registered paediatrics HIV excellence centres having qualitative PCR machines (polymerase chain reaction machines), would be set up in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Imphal. At these centres there will be facilities for free cd-4 count monitoring, a test for HIV/AIDS, for children upto 15 years of age. She also said that there would be 36 Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres set up under the initiative. "We will also be offering liquid formulations for babies weighing less than five kg," she said.

What is antiretroviral (ART) treatment?
Antiretroviral treatment is a type of treatment for HIV or AIDS which can increase the lifespan of infected people. The treatment needs to be taken each day for the rest of the person's life. The treatment consists of medicines which slow down the HIV replication in the body. These medicines are also called antiretroviral rugs or ART drugs. Many lives have been improved and transformed through ART treatment and it has helped many people conquer fear, discrimination, stigma and sickness, and has given them a new hope and dignity to live life.

Until now, the way of administrating the ART drug to children, often caused under dosage or over dosage of the drug, leading to drug resistance. The ART doses donated by Bill Clinton will mean an increased lifespan of 10 to 15 years in the HIV infected children.

The AHF and the American Center in New Delhi, will celebrate the World AIDS Day, with the opening of a photo exhibition titled Photos of Hope: Lives Saved and Transformed by HIV Treatment. The exhibition will run from December 1st to December 16th at the American Center, New Delhi.
The exhibition will share portraits and stories of men, women and children who are living on ART treatment and HIV/AIDS care, which has been provided through free treatment clinics of AHF both in India and US. The exhibition will commence with an opening night reception on November 30th, where several subjects of the portraits will be present, and will share with others their stories of hope and survival.

Dr. Chinkholal Thangsing, who is the Asia Pacific Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation said that he hoped that the photos served as an inspiration for people who were in need of medical care and treatment.

"This exhibit puts a human face on the promise that treatment can bring to people living with HIV/AIDS when they have access to medical care and lifesaving antiretroviral therapies. As a physician treating people with HIV and AIDS, I see firsthand how care and treatment saves lives and transforms people. I am grateful to the American Center for hosting this exhibit through which we share these success stories from both India and the US.

It is my hope that these photos serve as an inspiration for others in need of such treatment, and as a World AIDS Day call to action to scale up global treatment efforts," he said. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the US' largest HIV/AIDS healthcare and prevention and education provider, and it operates free AIDS treatment clinics in the US, Asia, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean. The AHF also operates AHF-India Cares.

Thu, 30 Nov 2006 | Author : Thomas Blythe

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