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MNP+ Alleges Government Discrimination

IMPHAL, May 14: The Government of Manipur has been discriminating people living with HIV, president of Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+) L Deepak has alleged.

Talking to media persons today in connection with the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day, which is to be observed tomorrow, Deepak asserted that the Government of Manipur lacks sincerity in implementation of any programs related to prevention of spreading HIV and welfare of the people living with HIV even though number of HIV positive people in Manipur has crossed 38,000.

In accordance to the epidemiological analysis report of Manipur State AIDS Control Society, there are 38,016 HIV positive people in Manipur till January, 2011. Among this, 10,109 are woman and 2578 are children, and 9985 HIV positive people are receiving ART facilities.

Deepak pointed out that there is no facilities for conducting various tests required for people living with HIV in Manipur and none of the Government hospitals has complete treatment facilities. There is no machine in the Government hospitals for testing the viral load and drug resistance. Test for Hepatitis C infection has also not been conducted here nor is there any policy related to treatment of Hepatitis C. Moreover, there is no PCR machine.

All the necessary investigations for starting ART treatment are supposed to be free. But with exception to test on CD4 count, one has to spend huge amount of money on undergoing other required tests like Hemoglobin count, Liver Function Test, X-ray, Hepatitis C, and B at private clinics as existing Government hospitals either do not have the machines or function properly.

Moreover, materials for information, education and communication (IEC) are not being provided and the ART centers are ill-equipped with doctors, counselors and dispensation of medicines carried out in a single room, Deepak pointed out, while asserting that many HIV positive patients who are in need of second line ART treatment have also lost their lives as the State AIDS Clinical Expert Team did not provide the required medicines in time.

Vice president of MNP+ Ajitswar asserted that administering of ART medicines in time and in proper doses is essential to ensure adherence but the Government is failing in its duty of ensuring the adherence and the expiry date of the medicines is being disregarded.

The sealed package of the ART medicines is being removed and the medicines provided to the patients wrapped in some papers.

At times, the medicines are mixed up with some other components which are not in ART combination. This is a question of life and death for the patients under ART treatment. But the Government has remained indifference from ensuring a proper system of dispensing ART medicines.

Chairperson of MNP+ Women Forum Anandi, who was also present at the occasion, highlighted the problems being faced by women living with HIV and pointed out that apart from financial difficulties, such women are also being deprived of inheritance of properties and having no place to go.

So, special attention should be paid to ensure livelihood of such women in the State AIDS policy, she demanded, while appealing for ensuring proper implementation of PPTCT program to prevent HIV transmission from parents to child.

It may be noted here The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day is being observed every year on the third Sunday of May to honor lives lost to HIV/AIDS and raise social consciousness about HIV/AIDS. The theme for observance this year is ‘Touching Lives’.

Like every year, MNP+ would also be observing the Day tomorrow at its Yaiskul Hiruhanba Leikai office starting from 11 am.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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