30 November 2010
"The MSACS has been focusing on strengthening the services and improving its access, especially for the people with high risk behaviours, through targeted interventions across the state," Deshmukh said.
"The prevention of parent to child transmission (PPTCT) programme, which ensures that every pregnant woman gets screened for HIV and gets medical care has shown remarkable success," Deshmukh said.
"In 2002, the HIV prevalence amongst pregnant women was 3.15%. This has been brought down to 0.35%. This year, as many as 8,51,673 women got tested under the PPTCT programme against 21,047 in 2002. For the women in sex work, this rate was contained at 7.4%, a decline of almost 35% from the prevalence of 42.8% in 2004.
The MSACS, which runs a comprehensive HIV prevention care, support and treatment programme throughout the state, is implementing the third phase of the National AIDS Control Programme, which calls for decentralisation and subsequent strengthening of services at the district level.
This year three anti–retroviral therapy (ART) centres, three second line ART centres and 10 link ART centres have been opened at the district levels, Deshmukh said. "This has resulted in massive scaling up of the programme with an assurance that even the remote areas get covered."
"Maharashtra remains a primary destination for migrants due to the huge demand for manpower in various sectors, which include unskilled labourers and construction and industrial workers," Deshmukh said. "Risk perceptions among this population are low due to illiteracy and lack of knowledge about HIV.
Considering the significance of this issue, the MSACS is launching a state–level communication campaign for migrants from December 2010 to March 2011, covering around 20 districts where migrant population are high. This will ensure that the HIV prevention messages reach out to each and every migrant and he/she is motivated to access the available services," he added.