LUDHIANA: In order to avoid chances of drug addicts getting affected by HIV, National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) would start with oral substitution therapy. Besides, addicts would be motivated to shed use of syringes as the same could trigger HIV infection. Health employees are already being trained in this connection.
A couple of days back, an inspection was conducted at Civil Hospital by NACO officials in the city. In the inspection, along with the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centre, blood bank was checked. It was decided to start the oral substitution therapy for intravenous drug users (IDU).
Under this programme, oral medicines would be given to all drug users to help them kick the habit. This would also help in reducing the risk of HIV transmission from one intravenous drug user to another. Needles are a predominant mode of spread of HIV.
And addicts often stop caring about sharing of needles, resulting in a higher risk of contracting HIV.
A few weeks back, a study was conducted by an NGO Rising Youth, wherein it was revealed 75% truck drivers visit commercial sex workers and syringes are commonly used by them. What is more alarming is that only 10% of these drivers use precautions like contraceptives. Another study, one done by Ludhiana Citizen Council, revealed that during pre-AIDS prevention intervention, it was found only 17% of the respondents had heard of HIV/AIDS and were not aware of modes of its transmission and symptoms.
Dr Geetika, district AIDS control programme officer, said this is the latest advancement, which National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) is undertaking with respect to intravenous drug use so as to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Under the oral substitution method, medicines would be given so as to control and avoid chances of HIV spread among addicts.
She added: "It is expected that the programme will take off soon as staff has already been sent for related training to Chandigarh."
Simran Virk, TNN,
Aug 10, 2010