To check the spread of AIDS, the National AIDS Control Programme was launched in 1989, with the assistance from the World Bank and the World Health Organization.
Later on the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) was set up by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to implement the various activities under the programme.
This organization has been established as a separate wing with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, the ultimate objective of the programme is to arrest the pace of HIV infection on the country with a view to reduce the future morbidity, mortality and impact of AIDS. The programmes consist of following components
(i) Strengthening Programme Management Capabilities:
National AIDS control organization would primarily would involve in planning, consulting, implementing and monitoring the various activities through AIDS Control Cell at the State/UT level.
(ii) Public awareness:
The programme also carryout and intensive public awareness and community support campaign through mass media and sustained dissemination of information, health, education about HIV and AIDS to all levels and categories of person.
(iii) Prevention of Transmission through Blood and Blood Products:
The Programme also included upgrading the blood bank capabilities in the Public sector and expansion of HIV screening of all blood used for transfusion and blood products in the country.
(iv) Strengthening Clinical Management Capabilities:
The programme also seeks to strengthen the institutional capabilities at the state/UT level for monitoring the development of HIV and AIDS epidemics.
(v) Controlling Sexually Transmitted Disease:
One of the prominent modes of transmission of HIV infection is through sexual contact. The programme also seeks to take up activities to strengthen the clinical services and case management activities in STD centers.
In Januaryl997, the government in an attempt to address some of the limitations in the AIDS control programme announced a draft national policy for prevention and control of AIDS.
The main objective of the draft policy is to bring about a paradigm shift in the response to HIV and AIDS at all levels both within and outside the government in the context of the disease spreading from individuals practicing high-risk behaviour to the general population and from urban to rural areas.
The draft policy stressed on the need for .expanding the counseling services for suspected cases of HIV as well a patient’s provision of safer blood. In February 1998, NACO took three major policy decisions that are expected to go long way in improving care facilities for the AIDS infected persons-
(i) The first to reimburse states for the treatment of all post-AIDS infection.
(ii) To increase and spread the AIDS treatment centers by encouraging charitable and other non-governmental organisations to cater to AIDS sufferers as well.
(iii) To have AIDS testing facilities for the public in all the government medical colleges in the country,
(iv) Although, overall AIDS programme in India has been planned in three phases:
This was implemented across the country with the objective to slow the spread of HIV to future morbidity and the impact of AIDS by initiating a major effort in the prevention of HIV transmission.
This was aimed at reducing the spread of HIV infection in India and strengthening India’s capacity to respond HIV epidemic on long term basis. For this phase included increasing access to free Anti Retroviral, recognizing the need of care and support for people living with HIV and scaling up of community centers. Initiating the process for developing draft legislation on AIDS was another step.
It is based on the experiences and lessons drawn from NACP-I and II. Its priority areas included integrative preventive care, support and treatment. This is being emphasized on giving highest priority in the intervention programmes to those sub population that have highest risk of exposure to HIV.
This included sex workers, drug users, long distance truckers, prisoners, migrants and street children. NACP-III also ensures that all persons who need treatment would have access to prophylaxis and management of opportunistic infections. It also plans to invest in community centers to provide psycho-social support.
It also has planned to work with other agencies involved in vulnerability reduction such as women’s groups, youth groups, trade unions etc, to integrate HIV prevention into their activities’.