The Himachal Pradesh government is committed to work to eradicate AIDS from the state as a public health hazard by the year 2030 as per the target set by the Central government.

Informing about this, a state government official said the government had launched a decisive campaign against AIDS with the goal of three zero which includes zero infection, zero death and zero discrimination.

“To achieve the goal of making Himachal AIDS free, the state government’s landmark steps like test and treat and Mission Sampark proved very successful.

HIV testing is an important part of the program and the first step is to identify HIV positive people and link them to Anti Retro Viral therapy,” he said, adding to fulfill this objective, about three lakh HIV tests were being done every year in the state.

He said apart from 45 Integrated Testing and Counselling Centers (ICTCs) in the state, HIV testing facility was also being provided through two mobile ICTCs.

To provide testing facilities to the residents at their doorsteps, efforts are being made to provide testing facilities up to Health Sub-Center level.

The Prevention from Parent To Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme is being implemented by the state government for eliminating HIV infection in Children, he said. He further stated that under the programme, pregnant women are being tested for HIV and in case women are detected HIV positive then procedure is adopted for prevention of HIV transmission to her new born child. Every year about one lakh pregnant women are being tested for HIV in the state.

“The government has set up three Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and three Facility Integrated Anti-Retroviral Therapy (FI-ART) centers in the state to provide ART to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and 4,646 PLHIV are being treated with Anti Retroviral Therapy in the state.

The state government is also sensitive towards People Living with HIV and their dependents and has started a financial support scheme of Rs 1500 per month for PLHIVs in year 2019.

Under the scheme, Himachali’s taking ART in the state are being given the benefit of this scheme,” he added.

The official said in addition, a nutritional support scheme was being implemented for children living with HIV from 2018. Under the scheme, 100 grams of oat or multi-grain biscuits were being provided to these children every day.

Since the year 2019, the state government had made provision of Rs 20 lakh annually for treatment and medicine for Persons Living with HIV having other diseases.

In addition to these schemes, financial assistance to orphans and children of AIDS victims’ upto 18 years of age was being provided for education and other living requirements.

“The government has launched vigorous awareness campaigns through radio, TV, newspapers, hoardings, folk media and other media including awareness activities during fairs and festivals for prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Special awareness campaigns are also being conducted on the occasion of International and National Youth Days, World AIDS Day and International Women Day,” he added.

He added Himachal had fewer cases of HIV as compared to other states yet the state government has shown its determination to overcome HIV by HIV screening, Anti Retroviral Therapy, social protection schemes and awareness campaigns.

With the efforts of the government and masses in general, eradication of AIDS is expected by the year 2030, and thus the goal of AIDS-free healthy Himachal would be achieved, he added.