Thursday, Dec 02, 2004
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By Our Staff Reporter
MADURAI, DEC. 1. The Rajaji Hospital here today became the first government hospital outside Chennai to offer anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS patients free of cost. It launched ART care to mark the World AIDS Day and also upgraded facilities to meet the increasing number of HIV-positive patients from the southern districts.
The dean, Kalavathy Ponniraivan, told The Hindu attention would be paid to `sero-positive' patients in the ART centre. A team of doctors was drafted exclusively for the centre to provide better care to the "very high number of HIV cases" arriving every day.
The anti-retroviral drugs, which are costly, would be supplied continuously. The project is funded by the National AIDS Control Organisation and the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS). The State Government has already released funds for the ART facility here. "We are the first tertiary government hospital outside the Tambaram Sanatorium in Chennai to launch the ART and drugs distribution," Prof. Poniraivan said.
Madurai district stands second, next to Chennai, in the State in the number of HIV-AIDS cases. According to the Deputy Director of Health Services (in charge), C. Sekar, 2,043 HIV-positive cases and 36 AIDS cases were reported in the district last year. "These figures came from the TANSACS sentinel survey and they could be more this year."
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