Get Tested to fight against AIDS! - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 31 December 2018

Get Tested to fight against AIDS!

AIDS and donated blood


It is compulsory to test all donated blood units for various transfusion- transmissible infections. HIV is included in these tests. The ELISA test is used for HIV.

It is a procedure since 2004 that prior to donation, all blood banks are required to obtain from donors written consent as to whether they wish to be informed about a positive test result.

In case a donor tests positive for HIV, blood banks are required to refer the donors to designated voluntary counseling and testing centres (VCTCs) for disclosure and counseling.



Recent Life Costs

A 19-year-old HIV-positive man, consumed poison after his blood had infected a pregnant woman in Tamil Nadu, died on 30th December, 2018.

The teenager was unaware of the infection when he had donated blood in November. The test by the government blood bank at Sivakasi had found him to be HIV negative. However, the blood he had donated in 2016 at a private blood donation camp was found to be HIV infected. The counselors there neither informed nor blacklisted him.
Studies show that blood banks in India have a success rate of less than 50% in contacting donors who have tested positive for transfusion-transmissible infections.



What is the procedure?

Under the 2004 National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) Action Plan, voluntary counselling and testing centres ( VCTCs) are required to inform the blood bank of a donor’s HIV-positive status to stop the person from donating blood in the future only when the confirmatory test done at the VCTC too is positive. Since only half of the consented donors are contactable and even fewer visit a VCTC, it is imperative that NACO finds a viable alternative without compromising the donor’s identity.


What is HIV-AIDS?

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, which is our body’s natural defence against illness. The virus destroys a type of white blood cells in the immune system. AIDS is not virus but a set of symptoms covered by the HIV virus. The immune system gets too weak to fight the infections. In the last stage of HIV, the immune system collapses and an infected person can die even with minor infection as defence system of body does not work at all. 


HIV in India : There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India. The prevalence of HIV in India is decreasing  since last decade due to constant efforts done by the government and NGO's. Condition has been improved in various part of the country. 


How has India been working to prevent and eliminate HIV?

India has been working to fight this deadly disease. Government started several awareness and prevention programmes like – pension schemes for HIV- affected, national AIDS control programme for NGO’S social benefits schemes. To deal with HIV in Eastern states- Project Sunrise was introduced. Government has been giving enough attention to HIV patients so that they can get benefits from such welfare schemes.

The Indian Parliament passed HIV and AIDS (prevention and control) Bill, 2017 to provide a better policy for AIDS Infected persons. It prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV at work Places. Many issues have been addressed in this bill by the government as maintaining dignity and privacy.


Conclusion

The focus should also be on creating awareness among donors to visit a VCTC to confirm their HIV status when alerted by blood banks. After all, timely confirmation helps donors start on early treatment to keep the virus under check and take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of infecting their partners and others through sexual and other kinds of contact and through blood donation. After winning a protracted battle to keep away professional donors from donating blood by encouraging voluntary donation, it is time blood banks and NACO worked to make safe blood availability a reality at all times.

HIV needs more attention and awareness to get eliminated not from just from India but worldwide. Causes like Unprotected Sex, Using same Syringe while injecting drug etc should be known by the people that it may lead to AIDS. A person who suffers from HIV needs regular affordable treatment, care and more acceptance in the society.