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HIV infection increases the risk of death tied to depressive symptoms

In collaboration with the railways, the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) is going to set-up kiosks and also carry out the HIV test, so that people can finally know if they are a risk of being HIV positive (+).

This year, the HIV screening campaign will start from the second week of December and it will run from 9th to 14th December. This screening programme will be launched to remind people about the importance of being tested for HIV. The tests will be provided for free of cost and HIV positive patients will be sent to antiretroviral (ART) centres for further treatment.

Experts admit that the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS is still high, preventing people from testing themselves, leading to a delay in the start of treatment.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Shrikala Acharya, additional project director of Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS), said, “In order to raise awareness about the disease and also to see to it that people come forward for HIV testing, this programme has been launched at 12 railway stations, on the Western, Central and Harbour lines. The testing facilities will be available in CSTM (VT), Dadar, Kurla, Bandra, Borivali, Chembur, Mandkurd, Govandi, Byculla, Andheri, etc.”

She added, “Many people undergo various diagnostic tests when they are facing a health problem. But they usually don’t get tested for HIV. In order to encourage HIV testing, we have initiated this public campaign, as we do it each year. It will help people become aware of their status.”

Last year, MDACS ran the HIV detection programme from December 03 to 05. Around 12,000 were tested for HIV out of which 78 were found to be HIV positive patients. These patients were referred for further treatment at government-run ART centres.

Since 1996, there have been several themes on which World AIDS Day is celebrated. This year, it is being celebrated on ‘Communities make the difference.’ Last year it was ‘Know Your Status.’

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