THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In 2013, the number of ‘Injecting Drug Users’ (IDU) who contribute to a high extent in spreading HIV was 10 per cent. Kerala State Aids Control Society (KSACS) could bring it down to an incredible four per cent in 2014. But this success saga would not continue for long if the flow of fund in carrying out HIV prevention programme gets obstructed. But this is what is happening know. “Earlier, ample money used to flow into the country. But as HIV cases decreased, monetary assistance also dwindled,” sources said. “They asks why more fund is needed if the number of HIV cases has come down to four per cent.
“Besides, the moment Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), an independent programme under the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) was integrated into the General Medicine Department, the release of funds started getting stuck in red tape,” they said. Meanwhile, the Centre has taken a stand that it has surplus money and hence has no need to borrow.
“Sector-wise allocation also came to an end. Now it is for the State Government to prioritise and it would be of immense help, if HIV programme is included in the priority list,” the sources said. Member of technical resource group of NACO Ajith Kumar said that the state got control over the disease as it worked intensively towards this direction for 10 years. “But this is not a period for complacence and withdrawal from the field,” he said. “Kerala has always been ahead of the pack with qualified staff and professionals to battle HIV. “When other states use the ANN’s service, Kerala utlised the services of M Sc and B Sc nursing staff,” nsources said.“To retain them in the field, they have to be given a decent salary,” they said. At the same time, the treatment procedure to rehabilitate ‘Injecting Drug Users’ is a tremendous task.
“The primary effort is to make them use fresh syringes. Then they have to be administered a drug called Buprenorphin as part of Opioid substitution therapy. It will give them a kick but wouldn’t be dangerous. The dosage will have to be reduced until they stop the usage. These are elaborate arrangements which need monetary assistance,” sources said.Roopan, Deputy Director, KSACS said NACO has released around Rs 6 crore which has to come through the state Treasury. “It will take 7-10 days to process it,” he said.