HIV-positive people demand free medicines from Tamil Nadu Government

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Chennai, May 7 (ANI): HIV-positive people from the Tamil Nadu Networking People (TNNP) with HIV/AIDS staged a demonstration here on Friday demanding free medicines and basic testing facilities from the state government.

They protested against the removal of Vijay Kumar, the former Director of Tamil Nadu Networking People.

"We are getting HIV-positive people here. The first line treatment is not from our state government, it is from our central government and also from other projects. Medicine is the major thing, (but) not only medicine taking helps," said David Daisy, a member of TNNP.

"We cannot survive without other support system of nutrition and other sustainability, income generation, there are so many chains linked with the people living with HIV for their life," she added.

Daisy said the new Director would take time to understand the needs of HIV-positive people.

HIV-positive people claimed that the state government is not providing them with even basic facilities like medicines and tests, adding that they have to spend their own money on medicines.

"In Tamil Nadu, the registered number in the ICTC (Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre) is near about Rs 1,70,000. Out of that, the Tamil Nadu HIV team is having near about 55,000 people," said Senthil Kumar, the organiser of the protest.

"Out of this 55,000 people, near about 30,000 people are eligible for the second line but before the second line, we need some basic tests for the eligibility regarding the drug resistant test, and viral load test, and some profile test are available. These facilities are not available all over India," he added.

Scores of protestors took part in this demonstration from over 30 districts of Tamil Nadu. (ANI)

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