Tirupur: A lack of international funding for AIDS prevention and control has affected the pace of the programmes, non-governmental organisations (NGO) that work for the betterment of people with HIV said here on Thursday.
“Ever since the first HIV positive patient was diagnosed in the country in 1986, NGOs worked together with the central and state governments in the prevention and control programmes, including the 15-year-old antiretroviral therapy. The organisations contributed immensely even in enacting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017,” deputy director (programmes) of the Voluntary Health Services A Vijayaraman said while speaking at the advocacy and consultation meeting on the condition, held on the sidelines of launching of Life Project, a life support programme for HIV-affected people in the district.
Stakeholders including government authorities, NGOs and apparel industrial representatives discussed the implementation of the Act.
The prevention and control programme has come a long way and several HIV-affected people are leading normal lives, said Rama Pandian, president of the Tamil Nadu Network of Positive People. “The infection rate has declined. Tamil Nadu showed the way for achieving the declining trend. But we did not ensure that new infection, rate of death and discrimination towards the patients, all have attained zero. It would depend on factors such as early detection and proper as well as continuous support to the patients in all possible ways from medical treatment to life support.”
Joevalan Niranjan, programme officer of Saathi, a project to sensitise and protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS, said that many foreign governments and international social organisations had stopped funding for HIV prevention and control programmes since 2013, citing the declining trend of HIV infection. “It has dented the pace of the programme.”
Meanwhile, Coimbatore-based NGO Native Medicare Charitable Trust (NMCT) announced plans to implement Life Project to support HIV-affected people in Tirupur. The organisation had supported 2,600 people from the community in the last four years.
“We heard that 5,000 people were affected with the condition in Tirupur. Our programme would work for more than 1,000 such people, who were below the poverty line, apart from preventing it among targeted groups including transgender and sex workers. German government and NGO Karl Kubel Stiftung would provide funds,” managing trustee of NMCT AS Sankaranarayanan said.