The AP State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) is going to supply new drugs for AIDS-infected pregnant women to prevent prenatal transmission of HIV to their babies.
The new combination of drugs is said to be highly effective with 99.9 percent efficiency as against the drug combinations being used currently with 60 percent results.
Distribution of the drugs - TDF, 3TC and Efavirenz - will begin on August 15 at all the Primary Health Centres across the state. Starting from the third month of pregnancy, the course will be continued for 18 months. In addition, the newborn baby will also be given nevirapine syrup for first six months and cotrimoxazole syrup from six months to 18 months.
AIDS-positive mothers have to visit the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres for the medicine. Alternatively, officials of the PHCs will supply the drugs at their homes.
“At present, there are about 8,200 AIDS-positive pregnant women across the state as per the records of the APSACS. By administering the new drugs, all these babies can be saved from AIDS,” said Dr PL Jaya Chandra Reddy, joint director of APSACS.
For the first time in India, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has given the nod to supply the drugs to HIV/AIDS-positive mothers, he added.
“For the programme, AP state government and NACO will spend `40,000 for drugs on each AIDS positive mother.” The PPTCT programme had been there in the country since 2002 under NACO but the success rate has been very low, he said.
According to NACO’s estimation (2006), 1.89 lakh HIV-positive pregnant cases are reported in the country and in the absence of any intervention, an estimated 56,700 infected babies will be born.
At present there are 5 lakh AIDS patients in the state - 2.8 lakh men and 2.2 lakh women, the highest in the country followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.