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GHRC orders set up of viral load testing facility for people with HIV

Panjim: The Goa Human Rights Commission today directed state government to ensure optimum care and facilities for people living with HIV, following a complaint filed by Peter F. Borges, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Human Touch Foundation.

Acting Goa Human Rights Commission Chairman and retired district court judge, A D Salkar has asked the Chief Secretary to fix a responsibility in this regard.

GHRC in its enquiry report said that there are no full-fledged facilities in the state of Goa to provide treatment for people living with HIV. There are no viral load testing facilities in the state of Goa for virological studies in HIV or for any other viruses. Presently, the samples are referred to J. J. Hospital, Mumbai for viral load testing. The state of Goa should make efforts to provide this essential facility to all the individuals who are in need of the same.

The state of Goa through its Chief Secretary, Government of Goa shall work out modalities to make available all essential facilities to people living with HIV. The state of Goa also shall set up a full-fledged laboratory for viral load testing for virological studies in HIV and other viruses,” the GHRC stated in an enquiry report.

Peter argued that the goal of the ART treatment in force is viral suppression and routine viral load facility is of outmost importance to all those accessing treatment in the state.

Peter in response to the respondents reply said that the current treatment strategy, executed through Goa Medical College and Link ART centres at Mapusa, Margao, Chicalim and Ponda are ineffective and not-coordinated in a professional manner.

“There is a failure in retainment of patient on ART, leading to lost cases, loss/death of patients in follow up, patients reporting to Goa Medical College with an advanced staged of treatment failure, with very less CD4 counts” During this, it is required that results of any viral load investigations are available within 2-3 days, hence the complainant prayed for viral load testing in the state itself.

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