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Telangana: ART shields HIV patients from Covid-19 attack

ART shields HIV patients from Covid-19 attackART shields HIV patients from Covid-19 attack
Highlights

  • None of 84,000 HIV patients affected by coronavirus across Telangana State
  • Despite low immunity levels, these patients have escaped the pandemic attack
  • Even corona infected patients are being given a few HIV medicines for viral load reduction
  • Doctors had sensitised the affected patients from February onwards and medicines were delivered at their doorsteps

Hyderabad: The novel coronavirus has not spared any individual. Increased impact has been seen on people having co-morbidities and chronic health issues including diabetes, cancer, heart and kidney-related etc leading to their during course of treatment. However, a strange thing is that no HIV patient in Telangana has tested corona positive so far in the state.

Telangana has over 84,000 HIV patients registered with AIDS control wing of the Health department. According to officials, none of them have been infected with the deadly virus so far. HIV patients have low immunity levels already and any type of infection, leave alone coronavirus infection, will have a big effect on their health.

In such a scenario what has come to their rescue in this corona pandemic is the interesting question. HIV patients are put under ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) and medicines used as part of it are proving to be a blessing in disguise for them.

Chest Hospital Superintendent Dr Mahaboob Khan said that corona patients are being given antiviral drugs, Lopinavir and Ritonavir for reducing viral load in their bodies. These medicines are prescribed for HIV patients and those under ART treatment use them every month, he said.

Dr Mahaboob Khan felt HIV patients, though not found to be infected so far, cannot take things easy. They should stay confined to home mostly and follow safety precautions like mask, physical distancing at all costs, he advised.

Telangana AIDS Control Society officials stated that they took awareness steps, as early as February end onwards, educating and sensitising HIV affected about the coronavirus impact around the world and how low immunity patients like them should be extra careful.

Officials said they have been distributing monthly medication to 84,000 odd patients at their doorsteps or venues near their homes as they cannot come outside like before. Also, those who had to come for monthly checkups to ART centres in various districts are being given mask and sanitisers also for their safety.

When Telangana health department decided to use Lopinavir on corona infected patients during lockdown time, the AIDS control wing had come to the rescue by donating one lakh tablets from their stock as procuring such bulk quantities would have been very difficult at once and that too during lockdown period when drugs production also was hit for some days.

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