New Delhi: The government is providing free lifelong antiretroviral (ARV) medicines for people living with HIV under its National AIDS Control Programme, Union Minister of State for Health Bharti Pravin Pawar said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Currently, around 15.23 lakh people living with HIV are given ARV medicines through 687 ART centres and 1261 link ART centres irrespective of their income background, the Minister said.
Pawar added that it includes free adherence counselling, diagnostic and monitoring services like baseline laboratory investigations, CD4 count testing, viral load testing, etc.
To de-stigmatize the myths revolving around the disease, NACO implements multimedia campaigns along with mass media supported by outdoor media such as hoardings, bus panels, information kiosks, folk performances and exhibition vans to create awareness on HIV/AIDS and promoting services/facilities across the country.
At the inter-personal level, training and sensitization programmes for Self-Help Groups, Anganwadi workers, ASHA, members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and other key stakeholders are carried out to spread awareness about treatment and other facilities.
The Adolescence Education Programme is implemented in more than 50,000 schools, providing 100 per cent coverage to students of Class 8, 9 and 11 through co-curricular activities based on life skill education approach in senior and senior secondary schools.
Pawar said 32 states have included the topic of HIV /AIDS in curricula of schools.