New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI) Union Health Minister J P Nadda today launched an initiative under which free viral load test would be provided at least once a year to the 12 lakh people undergoing treatment for HIV/AIDS in the country.

Nadda said the viral load test is a big step forward in treating and monitoring people living with HIV.

A viral load test measures the number of HIV viral particles in the blood to find out if the treatment is effective. A high viral load in a person on treatment indicates either that the medication is not being taken properly or that the virus is becoming resistant to the medication.

Routine viral load testing will optimise the utilisation of first line regimens, thus preventing drug resistance and ensuring the longevity of people living with HIV.

Viral Load testing will empower medical officers at ART to detect failure on first line treatment early and therefore save PLHIV from developing resistance to drugs. It will also help in strengthening Mission Sampark in tracking LFU (Loss to Follow Up) PLHIV, Nadda said.

Laying stress on addressing stigma and discrimination towards HIV, Nadda said that ending stigma is of paramount importance to enable persons infected and affected with HIV access health services. PTI PLB ASK ASK

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.