Karnataka to get 8 more HIV viral load testing machines

Bengaluru: Karnataka will soon have eight more machines that can recognize treatment failures among Aids patients who are experiencing antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Following the guideline by the National Aids Control Organization (Naco) to acquaint routine viral load-testing with screen patients on ART, the state will get eight more popular load-testing machines by April.

ART is a blend of pharmaceuticals that slows down HIV. The machines help to quantify the adequacy of treatment on patients and enable specialists to change drug if the one given before isn't giving the desired outcomes. These machines will be set up in state reference laboratories in various hospitals. The machines are in addition to the ones present in Nimhans.

Dr Sylvia Karpagam, a public health doctor said "ART test will gauge the reaction to the treatment. The specialist can change the medication for the patient in light of the reaction," She said if not estimated every now and then, the infection may escalate, resulting in death.

The new ART machines will be set up in Victoria Hospital in the city, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belagavi, BLDE, Vijayapura, district hospital, Kalaburagi, district hospital, Shivamogga, JSS Hospital, Mysuru, KIMS, Hubballi and Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Science, Ballari.

The department of health and family welfare officials have said that even though the machines will be installed a month later, the viral load testing will start on Thursday (February 8). This test is conducted with the help of Metropolis Healthcare Limited, Mumbai under a public-private partnership (PPP) to provide viral load testing for patients across all ART centres in the country.

The state has 3.1 lakh people living with HIV who are getting ART treatment, while only around 1.6 lakh of them turn up for treatment.

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