TANSACS launches vans for HIV counselling

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Chennai, Nov 18: The Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) has launched ten high-tech vans across the State to facilitate 'HIV counselling and testing facilities' reach to remote villages.

''The essence of the programme is to mainstream counselling and testing across those people who do not have the hospital reach,'' TANSACS Joint Director Nithiyanandham told to the sources.

The vans would be introduced in eight districts such as Coimbatore, Salem, Nilgiris, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal and Thiruvannamalai, which had more tribal population, he added.

The District Collectors had been authorised to draw up a day-to-day basis coverage plan, he said, adding that apart from testing, the vehicles would also disseminate HIV/AIDS pamphlets and other awareness material in rural areas.

''Besides purchasing the van, we have also spent about Rs three lakh on each vehicle to setup interiors, which would look like a mini-clinic,'' he said, adding each van would have a counsellor and a lab technician.

Apart from a refrigerator, television and auto analyser, the vehicles would also house facilities for basic blood tests, he added.

Mr Nithiyanandham said a blood sample would be screened for a host of disorders ranging from anaemia to diabetes even though the overall focus was on HIV testing.

He pointed out even as initially sex workers and truck drivers were perceived as vulnerable groups, at present 64 different occupational and priority groups were identified.

Over 75 per cent of transmission of HIV in Tamil Nadu was through the heterosexual route, he added.

Evaluation studies carried out by ORG-MARG and Scope Marketing in Tamil Nadu showed that general awareness about HIV and AIDS had increased from 23 per cent in 1992 to 98 per cent in 1997.


UNI

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