Significant Reduction in Death, Increased Survival of HIV Patients on ART in India: Study

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New Delhi: The findings of an ICMR study have demonstrated the high impact of antiretroviral treatment in HIV positive patients and have showed that the chance of death is halved among people on ART after five years of treatment. Also, the probability of tuberculosis is lower among people on ART as compared to those who are not, according to the study on the ‘Impact Evaluation of Antiretroviral Treatment, under the National AIDS Control Programme in India’. This report presents the first national-level ART impact evaluation (ART-IE) of Government of India’s free ART programme. This NACO-commissioned study evaluated the impact of NACP’s ART programme on various parameters at 396 ART centres (ARTCs) across the country for the period 2012-2017. “The study demonstrated the high impact of antiretroviral treatment and showed that the chance of death was halved among people on ART after five years of treatment. The probability of tuberculosis was lower among persons on ART as compared to those not on ART,” the ICMR said.

Cohorts of people, who initiated ART in 2012 and 2016 and continued taking treatment, underwent viral load testing and over 90 per cent showed that the virus in their blood was adequately suppressed. According to the findings, over 70 per cent of beneficiaries of ART reported ‘good’ or ‘very good’ quality of life overall and 82 per cent were productively employed and the ART programme under NACP was found to be very cost-effective. Antiretroviral Treatment (ART), the multidrug treatment for HIV infection, is provided free to adults and children living with HIV across India by NACO. This report provides programmatic directions to improve access to care and enhance prevention efforts. It helps guide research for future intervention needs, especially in emerging pockets of HIV infection in different parts of India.

This nationwide project was spearheaded by the ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute (ICMR-NARI) and was implemented through collaboration with five other institutes of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, ICMR-National Institute Of Medical Statistics, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Environmental Health) and the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi.

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