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World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia
Expanding Access to HIV/AIDS Treatment: Mission Report India
World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, India, 8-12 December 2003, 18 pp

"On World AIDS Day 2003, the Government of India (GOI) announced a strong policy commitment to provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 100 000 people with HIV/AIDS starting 1 April 2004. This policy development is in accordance with the recent declaration of the AIDS treatment gap as a global public health emergency and the launch of the WHO/UNAIDS initiative to provide 3 million people with ART by the end of 2005 ("3 by 5" initiative). GOI would provide ART in government hospitals in six high-prevalence states, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu. The main targeted sub-groups are: (a) seropositive mothers who have participated in the prevention of mother-tochild transmission programme (PMTCT); (b) seropositive children less than 15 years, and (c) people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). A working group chaired by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) would follow up on this initiative with representation from the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and manufacturers of antiretrovirals (ARVs). GOI is also pursuing its dialogue with pharmaceutical companies in an effort to further lower domestic prices for ARVs and is reviewing fiscal incentives to bring down prices. Planning and implementation for the 10-fold increase in overall numbers accessing ART, and perhaps a 100-fold increase in public sector provision of ART, should start now. It cannot be business as usual. The primary Expanding Access to HIV/AIDS Treatment responsibility for meeting the target lies with NACO and the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS). Support however will be forthcoming from WHO, UNAIDS and a wide partnership also committed to rapid expansion of access to AIDS treatment. Scaling up ART provision in the public sector will help accelerate HIV prevention in India while strengthening health system capacity. All parties recognize that any new activity to scale up ART must be funded through additional resources, without compromising existing prevention, care and mitigation programmes."

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