The HIV epidemic is about 29 year old. The initial years of
response to infection were focused mainly on preventive
activities. As the knowledge about the disease increased, the
focus has now shifted towards the antiretroviral drugs and
treatment strategies. Though antiretroviral therapy (ART) does
not cure HIV/ AIDS but it inhibits the multiplication of virus
and reduces viral load. This leads to slowing of the progression
of disease, and help people lead more productive lives.
The free ART initiative in India was launched on 1st April 2004
and in the process 250 ART Centers have been established by NACO
all over the country. The national program offers ART to the
following groups of patients:
All persons with HIV infection who are
clinically eligible to receive ART.
Those who are already on ART and want to get
enrolled with the national program for the available ART
regimens, after written consent.
Prevention of parent to child transmission.
Prevention of post exposure prophylaxis.
Management of opportunistic infections.
There are already two ART centers in the state
i.e. at IGMC Shimla and RH Hamirpur. DRPG Medical College Tanda
will soon be the 3rd center to be started in the state. In ART
center there is provision for a full time Medical officer, staff
nurse, a counselor, care co-ordinator and a data manager. Nodal
officer is usually the HOD of Medicine department. Principal of
the medical college is the chairperson of the Center. The
activities of the center are supervised by the NACO through
Program Officer State AIDS control society.