Third Line Drugs for HIV

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The government will soon include Third Line Therapy in its Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) programme for persons living with HIV. According to Department of AIDS Control – Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, preliminary work has begun in this regard and the process is expected to be completed in 8 to 10 months.

First Line and Second Line Therapy are already included in ART program and available to HIV-affected persons. Third line drugs are needed when HIV-affected person become resistant to second line drugs.  At present, patients requiring third line treatment are forced to go to the private sector for treatment, which is very costly and out of reach for majority of Indians.

The government would have to identify the number of patients who need such treatment before it can place orders for the medicines and formulate a budget. The Technical Research Group (TRG) had taken the government’s suggestion to include third line treatment and approval was received last week. It is expected that the third line treatment will be included in next year’s budget.

Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission

Department of AIDS Control will also roll out programme for Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission (PPTCT) this year. In the first year, it is expected to cover 90 per cent of the problem districts, and the entire country will be covered by next year. The PPTCT is already in place in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.