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One Lakh HIV Patients to get Free Anti-retroviral Drugs by 2007

The government-run National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) Friday said it would distribute free anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs to 100,000 people with HIV by 2007. //

"So far the drug has been administered to over 35,000 patients and we plan to give it to 100,000 patients by early next year," NACO director general Sujata Rao told reporters.

Rao said the drug was available at 52 centres across the country and the number of centres would be increased to 100 by August.

According to a study, 36,494 patients are receiving ARV treatment in the 52 centres. With new centres coming up the number is expected to go up to 85,000.

Rao said a campaign to promote the use of condom and safe sex would be further intensified and medicines would be made more accessible in the high prevalence states of Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

A recent report published by UNAIDS declared India as the most AIDS populous country in the world with 5.7 million patients as against 5.5 million in South Africa. However, NACO, which excludes below 15 years and above 50 categories for its estimates, puts the figure at 5.2 million.

The report, however, clarified that 19 percent of the South African population was affected with the disease as against mere 0.6 percent in India.

(Source: IANS News)

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