Back to Work01 Apr 2004
The study examines the effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment in helping ensure people living with HIV engage in gainful employment. It also analyses whether those using and providing antiretroviral therapy are sufficiently equipped to maximize the benefits of this new scientific frontier.
On the 1st of April 2004, the National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India announced the first phase of the historic roll out of free access to ARV medication to people living with HIV and AIDS in the six high prevalence states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Manipur and Nagaland.
This decision reflected the government’s commitment to investing in the continuum of prevention and care as a key strategy in the national response to HIV.
Three years later, the provision of ART is reaping its rewards in PLHIV’s improved health, improved quality of life and ability to continue to work.
Apart from improving the life span and quality of health of PLHIV, the therapy has triggered a paradigm shift among the affected communities and those working with them. HIV and AIDS are now seen as manageable conditions and PLHIV are confident that AIDS related stigma and discrimination will reduce.
In the midst of the debates of our nation becoming demographically ‘young’ and hoping to be the most productive nation in the coming decades, it is important to keep reminding ourselves that the young and productive individuals are also the most vulnerable to HIV. The argument for dealing with HIV as a development issue emerges from the fact that PLHIV are affected not only on the health front but also socially and economically. The retrovirus not only affects the individual but goes on to affect the individual’s family, community, and nation.