TIRUCHY: The National Aids Control organisation (NACO) plans to establish 80 ‘HIV Viral Load Testing Centers’ across the country in a phased manner, under the financial support from Global Fund for AIDS TB Malaria (GFATM) of which 24 has been established in the government hospitals.
At least two of these facilities have been established at Dr K A P Viswanatham Government Medical College hospital Tiruchy and Government Medical college at Coimbatore, according to Dr Mrs. Saradha Dean (KAPVGMCH) and Dr S.Dhanapal Prof and head of department of Micro Biology KAPVGMCH.
They told newsmen at Tiruchy on Thursday, that there is a significant increase in the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in first-line anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Presently, the patients on HIV treatment are monitored by clinical monitoring based on the symptoms and signs, immunological monitoring by enumeration of CD 4 T lymphocytes (the white cells very important in immunity and infected by HIV) and virological monitoring based on the quantification of HIV viral RNA copies (equivalent to free HIV viruses) in the blood; the patients on ART are monitored by six monthly CD4 count testing (immunological monitoring) response to treatment, they added.
As per the 90-90-90 target initiative for controlling HIV/ AIDS epidemic, 90 per cent of the people with HIV should be diagnosed, 90 per cent of the people diagnosed with HIV should be brought under ART and 90 per cent of the people under ART should have viral suppression.
In this regard, 'NACO' plans to scale-up viral load testing and introduce routine viral load monitoring of all patients on ART in a phased manner to achieve this 90 per cent at the earliest, they said. Five more virological load testing (HIV Real-Time PCR method) will be established in Tamil Nadu during the first phase through ‘TANSACS’. The NACO has supplied the state-of-the-art equipment.