`State run hospitals not equipped with Viral Load testing`

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IMPHAL, September 29: Addressing a one day state level consultative meeting on issues and concerns of PLHIV in Manipur at Hotel Imphal, organized by the Women Action for Development (WAD), in collaboration with Community Network for Employment (CoNE), Christian Network of Positive Women (CNPW), Manipur and Self Support Group (SSG), Sushil Huidrom State co-ordinator, UNAIDS said that although demands for a separate PLHIV cell have been repeatedly demanded and discussed accordingly at the State Legislative Assembly several times, the demand is yet to be turned into action.

The Manipur State AIDS policy was implemented in 1996, however it is yet to be made functional in the state, he observed.

Addressing the state level meeting, CoNE president Kanta said there are 42116 PLHIV in the state while 698 have died.

He said at present there are 19629 PLHIV in the state using the first line of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

No government hospitals in the state are equipped with the Viral Load testing equipment, he said while adding that the government hospitals in the state cannot conduct CD4 test regularly.

He continued that government hospitals cannot properly maintain medicine stocks.

Secretary MLFA, Dr I Ibohalbi said discrimination of PLHIV is a serious matter. The government has been ignoring the PLHIV, he said and claimed that the annual government report on PLHIV is based entirely on the MACS report and is not collected through surveys.

Meanwhile, the meeting passed several resolutions including demands for the State legislative assembly to table and pass the state HIV/AIDS bill during the upcoming winter session.

It was also resolved to demand the development of mechanisms to provide free diagnostic tests initiation for ART and monitoring; adequate physician especially a gynaecologist for women accessing ART at their respective ART centre; ensuring proper community basic amenities such as drinking water, sanitation, sitting arrangement etc at the ART centre and provision of AAY cards to all PLHIVs residing within the state of Manipur.

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