Paediatric HIV/AIDS In India: A serious Threat To Children’s Lives

According to National AIDS Control Organization 2007 estimates ,out of an estimated 2.31 million people with HIV and AIDS in India, women constitutes 39% and youngsters below 15 years stands at 7.8%

Out of the 70,000 children below 15 years with HIV in India, 21,000 are infected each year through parent to child transmission.

Over 300 children and adolescents die every day from AIDS-related causes

There are an increasing number of youngsters dying with AIDS may be a major concern in India.

In April 2004 ART programme was launched in 6 high prevalence states of India for HIV infected people. Realising the necessity for extending free ART to increasing number of youngsters living with HIV, the paediatric AIDS initiative was launched in 2006 .

The main focus was to scale back the disparity between the quantity of kids living with HIV and AIDS and also the number of youngsters receiving treatment.

However despite all the efforts by the govt. and civil society, sustainable access of CLHIV and families to ART centres is commonly limited because of several socio-economic and institutional barriers.

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Stigma and therefore the resultant discrimination permeating the social milieu at various levels : within the family, community ,institutions and therefore the society at large.

Economic constraints caused by inadequate availability of economic resources in poor and child headed families leading to ART taking a back seat.

Infrastructural issues associated with location of the ART centres at a protracted distance, insufficient number of ART centres to cater an outsized population.

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Unsatisfactory support from parents and care givers as a result of procedural difficulties at ART centres.

Lack of awareness about Paediatric ART and HIV/AIDS since ART was primarily adult focussed and there has been lack of kid focused information, education and communication on HIV/AIDS. Lack of coordination, collaboration and convergence between agencies, depts and related programmes.

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Improved access to ART centres is vital to fight against HIV/AIDS.It is important to style and implement intensive child-focused IEC separately targeting rural and concrete population through an appropriate mixture of media.

It is also important to disseminate appropriate information on HIV and AIDS ,paediatric diagnosis and ART through mass media and other communication campaigns to impart correct knowledge and generate awareness across rural and concrete areas.

It is also imperative to expand the treatment by decentralising ART services by increasing the amount of ART centres near small and medium towns with services like HIV testing, CD4 count and prognostic support. These should be founded at strategic locations to cut back the time taken and also the expenses involved in travelling long distances to achieve these centres.

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There should be direct referral of kids from the counselling section to ART section to avoid wasting them from the hassles of waiting at different counters. To further improve access, flexible timings should be introduced at ART centres to assist parents and youngsters avoid frequent absence from work and schools.

There is a desire for improved coordination between AIDS control societies and district health depts. there’s a necessity to strengthen operational facilities and comprehensive package of services under one roof. All key facilities should be brought under one roof to reinforce accessibility and accountability to