We are together in this fight against HIV- Dr Harsh Vardhan

“India is providing free anti-retroviral treatment to close to 1.4 million people”

GG News Bureau 
New Delhi, 11th June. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), here today through Video Conference.

He said that India was together in this fight against HIV and India is providing free anti-retro-viral treatment to close to 1.4 million people.  Outlining the resolve of the country to fight AIDS he said “We need to achieve zero new transmission of HIV if we are to deliver on the promise of ending AIDS in next 10 years.

Dr Harsh Vardhan speaking on the occasion said that while the common perception is that the HIV epidemic is under control, epidemics have the habit to resurge and hence, constant vigil, and appropriate timely remedial measures are necessary.

While paying tribute to those who lost their lives to HIV-AIDS during this period despite our best efforts he also commended the efforts of healthcare providers and frontline workers including outreach workers who have walked the extra mile risking their lives during COVID- 19 to ensure that no Person Living with HIV is left without medication.

India has ably demonstrated that strong political leadership is most critical to address inequalities and gaps in epidemic response. During the COVID-19 pandemic, India took swift and timely action by involving communities, civil society, and development partners to mitigate the impact of COVID on HIV services. In India, the HIV & AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2017, provides a legal and enabling framework to safeguard the human rights of infected and affected populations, said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

Outlining the intervention by the Indian government he  said that India’s unique HIV prevention model is centered around the concept of ‘Social Contracting through which the ‘Targeted Interventions Program’ is implemented with support from civil society. The program is aimed at behaviour change, communication, outreach, service delivery, counselling & testing and ensuring linkages to HIV care. India is providing free anti-retro-viral treatment to close to 1.4 million people. Indian drugs are also reaching millions of People living with HIV in Africa. India’s National AIDS Control Program has been Revised, Revived and Revamped to focus on hard-to-reach and at-risk populations. We are gradually transitioning the people living with HIV to Dolutegravir, a safer and efficacious anti-retro-viral medication regimen. Viral Load Testing facilities have been scaled up, and HIV counselling, testing and community-based screening for early diagnosis have been ramped up to achieve the target of Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV. In line with the motto of the Government of India, ‘Together, for everyone’s growth, with everyone’s trust’, the National AIDS Control Program has signed MoUs with public and private sector industries to mobilise their support for HIV prevention and treatment. India aspires to scale up HIV care to reach 100% of people living with this dreaded disease said the Union Health Minister.

“We are fully cognisant of the fact that with only 115 months to meet the target, we need to achieve zero new transmission of HIV if we are to deliver on the promise of ending AIDS in the next 10 years. We have a long journey ahead. We need to foresee and identify our challenges and gaps, customise our program, share knowledge, emulate best practices and strive towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the AIDS epidemic, which is a grave public health threat, by 2030’ said Dr Harsh Vardhan.

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