Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched third-line drug therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS on 12 February 2014. The third-line therapy also called salvage or rescue therapy is prescribed for people who have limited drug options left.
The announcement for the salvage therapy was made by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at the launch of at the launch of the National AIDS Control Programme Phase IV (2012-2017).
The highly expensive therapy will be provided free. The third-line therapy would enhance longevity and improve the quality of life of patients.
The Union Health Ministry also extended free anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to more of them by revising the eligibility norm.
For receiving free ART, the minimum CD4-count limit had been reduced from 500 to 350. The count is a measure of the viral load.
Anti Retroviral Therapy
Anti Retroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.
Huge reductions have been seen in rates of death and suffering when use is made of a potent ARV regimen, particularly in early stages of the disease.
Furthermore, expanded access to ART can also reduce the HIV transmission at population level, impact orphanhood and preserve families.
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