VELLORE: The Christian Medical College Hospital (CMC) organised a special camp for around 40 children in the age group of 8 to 18, from Vellore district, infected with HIV, to mark World AIDS Day on Monday. The children shared experiences and listened to the counselling sessions jointly offered by the CMC staffers and the Don Bosco Rehabilitation Services,.
Professor Priscilla Rupali, head of Division of Infectious Diseases attached to the Department of Medicine at CMC said that incidence of adult HIV cases nationally has been declining from 0.41 percent in 2001 to 0.27 percent in 2011. It is estimated around 1.1 lakh new adult HIV infections and around 14,500 new HIV infections among children (less than 15 years of age) in 2011 occurred in India.
Pro-active steps taken by Tamil Nadu government, have resulted in the decline of new cases in the state. As compared to Western countries where new cases are diagnosed early and treated, the HIV related mortality in India has remained 6% as against 2% in those countries, Rupali added. But the good news according to her is new drugs being produced in India have reduced the price and drug toxicity while controlling the multiplying capacity of the virus in the blood stream. HIV infected persons can now lead a normal life with drugs even though there is no cure for the disease, she added.
The ART center at CMC has promoted five self-help groups of adult HIV infected persons (including one male group) and the members of these groups have been engaged in various income generation activities such as saree vending, street eateries etc. with 75 percent of the members comprising mostly widows of HIV victims.
While the district has around 600 persons living with HIV infection, the CMC is giving home based care to 250 persons. 17 of the children under CMC care have been able to join degree courses in arts and science courses.
CMC has been extending care and support to over 1800 HIV infected persons through the ART center since 2008.