Mumbai: The BMC is launching the website for the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society in honour of World AIDS Days (MDACS). It will offer online services to patients with HIV under the name E-Nirantar. Senior health experts claimed that many questions go unanswered and that an internet resource will provide solutions with only one click.
The website, according to the project director Dr. Vijay Karanjker, is an endeavour to dispel HIV/AIDS-related taboos, misunderstandings, and falsehoods. Many people have inquiries, but they are unsure of who to ask or contact. They will be able to schedule appointments online and receive teleconsultations thanks to this e-service, he explained, adding that it will make it easier to hear unseen voices.
Dr. Karanjker continued, ‘We have a team of professionals to assist patients in receiving appropriate therapy. HIV patients can schedule appointments for testing and upload their results for review by clinicians who are accessible through the online portal. The website will include a list of counsellors to treat mental health concerns in addition to physicians’. According to him, MDACS will also host awareness camps at railroad stations, which will be promoted on the Internet.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw a decline in HIV testing, but it has since increased to pre-pandemic levels. In 2019–20, 4,755,402 people underwent testing; of those, 4,473 (or 0.9%; MDACS) tested positive for HIV. 3,87,399 individuals underwent testing in 2021–2022; 3,087 of them tested positive for HIV. From April to October of this year, 2,52,962 people were tested, and 1,910 (or 0.08%) of those were found to be HIV positive.
In the city, 1,245 deaths were reported in 2021–22, compared to 1,265 in 2019–20 (pre–Covid). From April to October of this year, 487 people have died as a result of HIV. Senior MDACS officials claimed that they have been working hard to raise awareness through various communication channels. Reaching out to the younger, higher-risk population is necessary, though. Patients are treated even in private hospitals, but they are not given counseling.