Care, Support and Treatment
The key objective of Care, Support & Treatment division is to provide all base line investigations & CD4 count, screening for opportunistic infections, provision of Anti retroviral drugs & OI drugs to all people living with HIV (PLHIV). With this objective in mind, currently, various service delivery points like Centre of excellence, Anti-retroviral therapy centres, Anti-retroviral therapy plus centres, Link ART centres and Link ART plus centres have been established.
Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centres
ART centres provide life long care & treatment to people detected as HIV positive at ICTCs. These Centres are attached to Medical Colleges, District Head Quarters hospitals & GH. Each ART centres is headed by Medical Officer under whom Staff Nurse, Counsellor, Data Manager, Lab Technician, Pharmacist & Care Coordinator work. General investigations & CD4 test to assess the immune status of HIV+ patients are performed at these Centres. Life long free Anti Retro Viral (ARV) drugs & Opportunistic Infection (OI) drugs are provided through these centres. Counselling services, referral & linkage to social benefit schemes are also rendered through ART centres.
Currently 55 ART centres are functioning in Tamilnadu. Sites for these centres are chosen based on the district prevalence, area, terrain & population characteristics. Each ART centre is attached to a government health facility prioritizing medical college then district head quarters hospital & lastly GH. Thus we ensure easy accessibility to speciality care as these centres are mostly established at tertiary & secondary care institutions with all these facilities. One Centre of Excellence provide both 2nd line & 3rd line drugs in addition to 1st line drugs. 1 Regional Paediatric Centre of Excellence and 7 ART plus centers provide Second line drugs, management of complicated OIs and specialized laboratory Services to PLHIV.
In May 2017, NACO has rolled out the “test and treat “strategy based on which all patients diagnosed HIV positive are now eligible for treatment irrespective of immune status.
Link ART Centres ( LAC )
In order to decentralize the treatment services, select ICTCs are designated as Link ART Centres which function as drug dispensing units apart from providing counseling and HIV testing services. LACs function at district/sub district level hospital/CHCs. ICTC in charge Medical Officer, Counsellor & Lab Technician are given training in patient care. Currently, 174 Link ART centres are functioning in Tamilnadu.
Journey of ART Programme in India