High mortality rate among people with advanced HIV disease
Kohima, Jan. 11 (EMN): The mortality rate among people with advanced HIV disease is ‘very high’ even with access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to Leena Menghaney, Regional Head of Medicins Sans Frontieres, Access Campaign.
She stated this at a one-day workshop on public health and advanced HIV disease, organised by Kripa Foundation in collaboration with Medicins Sans Frontieres, Access Campaign in Kohima on Wednesday.
‘Advanced HIV disease remains a persistent challenge globally for both newly initiating patients and increasingly for ART experienced patients as well. In spite of access to treatment, the number of people with advanced HIV at the time of diagnosis remains high and is not declining very fast.
One in three people living with HIV have advanced diseases, while 10% of people who have advanced HIV disease will die in three months, she said, citing WHO studies.
‘If we pay attention to the advanced HIV disease, we will be able to cut mortality tremendously from HIV and AIDS’, Menghaney observed.
People with HIV and AIDS are dying despite ART due to a number of diseases. Nearly a million died in 2018 and a lot of lives were lost during due to COVID-19, she said.
‘We want to cut death to less than half a million but we are still losing millions of people every year to HIV and AIDS across the world and India is one of the hotspot’, she added.
Speaking further, she said that people with advanced HIV disease often require hospitalisation. ‘Hence, having a centre for them is very important because often, people with advanced HIV diseases are refused admission due to discrimination and stigma,’ Menghaney said.
She informed that the only centre for advanced HIV disease is in Bihar.
The WHO has recommended rolling out packages for advanced HIV disease. However, due to lack of knowledge among positive networks themselves, this request through National AIDS Control Programme (NACO) has not happened. Therefore, the funding for advanced HIV disease that comes through proper funding has not been sorted, she stated.
She further informed that the COVID pandemic has put on hold the progress of rolling out the advanced HIV disease package.
‘We can only have the intervention for AHIV disease if the package is rolled out from NACO’, she said, adding that no demand has been made from Nagaland to roll out the package.
Various NGOs, networks and groups from Nagaland also raised queries on advanced HIV disease during the workshop.