Saturday December 14, 2019

Now Comes a Pill That May Help Curb 2.7 Lakh HIV Cases in India

However, the authors noted that a nationwide PrEP rollout would be quite costly

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HIV
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Paired with a biannual testing programme, a combination drug used to prevent HIV infection has the potential to improve average per-person survival by nearly one year and block more than 270,000 HIV transmissions in India over a period of 15 years, says a study.

The once-a-day pill, called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), can reduce the risk of HIV acquisition by over 85 per cent when taken consistently.

The new study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggests that making PrEP available to men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs (PWID) in India may be a cost-effective way of curbing the epidemic in the country.

“We know PrEP helps stop the spread of infection; the question is whether it is a good use of limited resources? Our study shows that PrEP is a cost-effective strategy for both MSM and PWID in India. For these groups, especially in areas with high HIV incidence, PrEP is worth rolling out,” says lead and corresponding author Pooyan Kazemian of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the US.

Using a widely-published mathematical model to project clinical and economic outcomes of HIV disease, the authors compared various prevention and testing programmes – including annual or biannual HIV testing alone, as well as PrEP paired with HIV testing – that could help reduce HIV infection and therefore improve survival for these high-risk groups.

HIV. Pakistan
Participants hold placards in the shape of the red ribbon, the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV, as a hot air balloon is released during an awareness campaign ahead of World AIDS Day in Kolkata, India. VOA

Their findings suggest that PrEP would increase survival substantially by reducing infection risk, while more frequent HIV testing would provide little additional benefit.

“While the World Health Organization recommends quarterly HIV testing for those on PrEP, our analysis identifies PrEP with semi-annual testing as the cost-effective HIV prevention strategy for MSM and PWID in India,” said co-author Nagalingeswaran Kumarasamy of the Voluntary Health Services in Chennai.

However, the authors noted that a nationwide PrEP rollout would be quite costly.

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If nearly 60 per cent of MSM and PWID across India participated in the programme, it would increase HIV care expenditures by over $900 million over a five-year period, the study said.

“Our findings suggest that geographic areas of highest HIV incidence should be targeted first to reduce the budget required,” said co-author Nomita Chandhiok of the Indian Council of Medical Research in New Delhi. (IANS)

Next Story

Uber Launches Campaign for Women and Youth in India

New Uber initiatives to empower women, youth in India

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Uber India
A campaign by Uber will empower youth and women in India. Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to make daily commute safer for women in India, ride hailing giant Uber on Friday launched a new campaign for Uber Auto, which also aims to empower riders with seamless shared mobility solutions.

The company also launched an Uber Moto campaign for youth with convenient doorstep pickup to help them save time from arduous commute and use that time to up-skill themselves.

“At Uber, we’re committed to simplifying the lives of our riders by addressing their everyday challenges through multi-modal mobility solutions,” Manisha Lath Gupta-Marketing Director, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

“We believe that our youth have immense potential, however, lack of safe and reliable commuting options often limits their aspirations. In a small yet meaningful way, we are delighted to support the aspirations of millions of men and women to move forward,” Gupta added.

Uber India campaign
The Uber Auto campaign in India is titled as “Badey Iradon Ki Chhoti Sawaari,”. Pixabay

Targeted primarily at women commuters, the cab hailing giant’s Auto campaign, titled “Badey Iradon Ki Chhoti Sawaari,” aims to provide women safe, reliable yet affordable travel options, thus, enabling them to fulfil their aspirations.

Instead of being dependent on friends and family for picking and dropping them, or standing on roads waiting to find a reliable mode of transport, Uber Auto allows women to step out whenever they need to.

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The company’s Moto campaign, titled “Sapno Par Hoja Sawaar” aims to inspire the young working professionals whose aspirations get dampened because they spend long hours commuting and have to change multiple modes of transport to find the most economical option.

Both the campaigns would be seen across digital, print and out-of-home advertising (OOH) platforms, said Uber. (IANS)