HYDERABAD: Among the people who visit Integrated Counselling & Testing Centres (ICTC) to get counselled and tested for HIV, a lot of them come because they suspect to have contracted the disease from a member of their family or community who is HIV positive.
Though they do not maintain any sexual contact with the infected person, the fear of the disease, sometimes, drive them to the counselling centres for clarifications, said an official from Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS).
“We regularly come across people who fall under this category. If one of their family or community members is infected with HIV, they fear to have contracted the disease,” said the official. According to officials from Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS), quacks, for their benefit, also plant suspicion about the disease in peoples minds. “We suggest people not to take advise from unqualified medical personnel. Always seek help of a professional,” said one official.
He said definite statistics of the people under this category is not maintained as it goes against the policy of maintaining clients’ identities concealed. However, most of the people under the category are from the reproductive age group of 15 to 50 years of age. And youth constitute the major part as they are proactive in seeking help.
The official further added, they encourage people to get counselled without any hesitation. Taking consent of the person visiting ICTCs, the clients are counselled and later made to undergo three tests to detect and confirm HIV. Even if a client tests negative for HIV, they are counselled thereafter to weed out chances of contracting the disease. “We explain them precautions and lifestyle that needs to be adopted to maintain a fruitful life,” the official said.
On the whole there are 379 ICTCs in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh together. Their location can be found at www.apsacs.org or by visiting any of the government hospital.
All services are provided free of cost by Government of India and the state government, said the official.