The minister laid emphasis on awareness drive in the state for the prevention of AIDS infection. Pandey said in the last few years, new antiretroviral (ARV) medicines have been discovered and their production has also increased.
“In 2017, the Centre’s decision on test and treatment has proved fruitful because as soon as a person is diagnosed with HIV at any of the integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTC), he or she receives free medicines and other medical facilities at the ART centres,” Pandey said.
The minister also released ‘Bihar Fact Sheet’ on HIV-AIDS. The fact sheet mentioned that the number of ICTCs has increased to 1,093 in 2019-20 from 766 in 2018-19. The first advanced level STD diagnostic service centre was established at state reference centre in SKMCH at Muzaffarpur, while STD, tuberculosis, HIV testing started in 59 prisons of Bihar. Pandey also felicitated the winners of Yuva Sanchar 2020, an online quiz competition.
Principal secretary of health Pratyaya Amrit said HIV test was available free of cost in all government health centres and the number of test centres was being increased for the public convenience.
Manoj Kumar, project director of BSACS, said 20 ART centres were operational in Bihar.
Shivendra Pandey, programme manager, UNICEF (Bihar), said there were 391 Red Ribbon Clubs in various colleges/universities of the state where students organized the social awareness programmes on HIV and its prevention.
Dr Syed Hubey Ali, health specialist, UNICEF (Bihar), said 22 out of every 10,000 people in India were infected with HIV while in Bihar it was 18 per 10,000 people. “At 20 ART centres in Bihar, about 61,000 persons are being provided free medicines and other facilities,” he said.