AHF India Cares partners with Palladium India in a groundbreaking community-based HIV testing and linkage project across 9 states and 22 districts of India

▴ AIDS & HIV
This year, the program has already screened 66,187 people for HIV, of which 994 people are HIV positive with 84% linked to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) .

17-05-2024, India - As we celebrate World HIV Vaccination Day on May 18th every year, it's imperative to acknowledge the stark reality: an estimated 38 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, of which 2.3 million are in India alone. As HIV vaccine remains elusive, the significance of early diagnosis and linkage to care for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) cannot be overstated. Early detection allows for timely intervention and treatment, which can significantly improve health outcomes and quality of life for PLHIV. Moreover, proper linkage to care ensures that individuals receive comprehensive medical attention. It also facilitates ongoing monitoring of the virus's progression, management of symptoms, and prevention of opportunistic infections.

 

The early diagnosis and linkage to care have significantly improved the lives of millions of individuals like Ranjita Devi (name changed) whose life took an unexpected turn in February 2023. At one of the screening camps in Samastipur, Bihar, organized by Palladium as part of the Community Based HIV Testing and Linkage (CBHTL) project by AHF India Cares, she tested positive for HIV.

 

As part of the National HIV Counseling and Testing protocol, Ranjita underwent a confirmatory test at the nearest Integrated Counseling and Testing Centre. The results were perplexing – while kit 1 showed a negative outcome, kit 2 displayed a positive result. Seeking clarity, Ranjita was referred to a hospital in Muzaffarpur for another confirmatory test. However, even after repeated tests, the outcome remained unchanged, plunging Ranjita deeper into despair.

 

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Palladium team reached out to the ICTC Counselor at the District Hospital, initiating a chain of consultations for determining the correct diagnosis. With the intervention of Bihar SACS, an Eliza test was conducted at the blood bank in Samastipur. Finally, Ranjita underwent the confirmatory test in January 2024, which conclusively confirmed her diagnosis. Ranjita was immediately put on treatment. 

 

The correct and early diagnosis and subsequent linkage to care were crucial in Ranjita's journey. With the support of healthcare professionals and compassionate guidance from the ART Center doctors, she understood that HIV is not the end of the world. She gained a deeper understanding of the pervasive taboo surrounding HIV, recognizing the complex societal attitudes and misconceptions that contribute to discrimination and marginalization of those living with the virus. Today Ranjita is living a healthy life with dignity and creates awareness around her about HIV.

 

Mr. Amit Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India, said, “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to AHF India Cares for this invaluable partnership." He further added, “Recognizing the significance of last-mile support, AHF India Cares collaborated with Palladium India to bolster community-based rapid testing, counseling, and linkage services across 9 States and 22 districts of India.  Palladium is working within the framework of the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NACP) to ensure that no individual is left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 2023, the project screened a total of 2,51,000 persons with and attained a 90% linkage to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).  While this year, the program has already screened 66,187 people for HIV, of which 994 people are HIV positive with 84% linked to ART.

HIV care means embracing early diagnosis and treatment, empowering individuals to take control of their health, and fostering a community of support and compassion. Together, we can break barriers, save lives, and build a healthier, brighter future.

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