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AIDS testing centres in private hospitals planned

Staff Reporter

Fall in HIV prevalence rate among new mothers

CHENNAI: The State Government proposes to identify four large private hospitals in the State to set up voluntary testing and counselling centres for AIDS. Pre- and post-test counselling will be free, said Mahalingam, programme manager of Care Support at AIDS Prevention Control Project (APAC).

The nodal agency, the umbrella organisation for 72 non-governmental organisations, has also planned to set up 15 more voluntary testing centres. Each centre will have a counsellor. The number of persons with HIV/AIDS will determine where the centres will come up.

There had been a fall in HIV prevalence among new mothers (ante-natal mothers) since 2000, a study done by the centre showed.

Fall in figures

From 1.59 per cent, the figure had fallen to 0.65 per cent in 2003, Dr. Mahalingam told a gathering of representatives from non-governmental organisations in the various districts. The APAC has decided to allot more funds to reach those who have not been reached yet.

Caregivers attached to NGOs will be trained in community-based nursing and home care. Caring for the terminally ill and dealing with the dead in hospices will also be taught.

Until now, slum intervention programmes included street children. A recent effort by NGOs working with the children had noted that the children were sexually abused and vulnerable. Homosexuals, injected drug users and migrant workers too were not part of the intervention programme, though Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society conducts 17 AIDS-related programmes.

A current project for tourists and commercial sex workers is being held in tourist centres in the State, Dr. Mahalingam said at the two-day workshop on integrating issues of STD, HIV/AIDS inaugurated on Wednesday.

K. Manivasan, Chennai Corporation's Joint Commissioner (Health), who inaugurated the workshop, said a two-week family health awareness camp would be organised in June.

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