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Himachal Govt. adopts policy of 'Zero New-Zero Discrimination and Zero Death due to HIV/AIDS'
Himachal Pradesh government has adopted 'Zero New-Zero Discrimination and Zero Death due to HIV/AIDS' for this year. Disclosing this at Shimla, Himachal's Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh Thakur said that the State Government had envisioned that every person living with HIV had assess to quality care and was to be treated with dignity.

Effective prevention, care and support for HIV/ AIDS was possible in an environment where human rights were respected and those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS live a life without stigma and discrimination.

The minister said that the State Government was committed to contain the spread of HIV by building an all-encompassing response, reaching out to diverse population. Besides, need to make the people aware, motivated, equipped and empowered with knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS so that they can protect themselves from the impact of HIV.

He said that the State Government was implementing many schemes for people living with HIV/AIDS and their children. The travel fare was being provided to such patients living with HIV/AIDS and one attendant for coming to Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centres for treatment. Besides, milk powder to infants of HIV positive mother on advice of physician was being provided.

Health Minister said that financial assistance was being provided to orphans/children of HIV/AIDS victims, Between 0-18 years Rs. 300 per month, upto three years children, Rs. 400 per month, upto four to six years, Rs. 500 per month, upto seven to nine years, Rs. 600 per month, upto 10 to 12 years, Rs. 700 per month, for 13 to 15 years and Rs. 800 per month, for 16 to 18 years.

He said that ART was also being provided free of cost at ART Centres besides various Information Education and Communication (IEC) activities like folk campaign, hoardings, involvement of mass media to spread awareness and mainstreaming of persons was being done from time to time.

The minister said that more than 104550 persons had been counseled for HIV in Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) and 104410 were tested for HIV in ICTCs during 2013-14. Till now, 30561 pregnant women had been counseled for HIV in ICTCs and 30102 pregnant women were tested for HIV. He said that 18 blood banks had been set up in the State and 18081 units blood were collected besides 13461 voluntary blood donations under the AIDS Control Programmes during 2013-14.

Thakur said that during the year 2013-14, 16376 calls were received for tele counseling on toll free number 1299 under the AIDS Control Programme. He said that 45 Integrated Counselling Centres were providing free counseling and testing facility to general population and pregnant women.

Besides, two mobile ICTC Vans had been pressed into service for covering all hard areas to reach where testing facility was not available. He said that facility of three blood component separation units for preparing components from whole blood, one blood donation mobile van, four blood transportation vans had been provided in the State besides, 34 targeted intervention projects for involvement of NGOs in the prevention of HIV/AIDS in high risk group.

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