The arrangements for AIDS treatment centers, including the 28 ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) centers in Rajasthan, have collapsed due to the apathy of the Rajasthan State AIDS Control Society. The Central Government allocated the budget for these centers six months ago, but as of mid-September, the funds have not been released at the state level. This delay is unusual, as the funds are typically disbursed by April each year. The ART Center in Udaipur is facing a shortage of essential medicines, including Abacavir for adults, Atazanavir for adults, Lopinavir Syrup, and Lopinavir Tablets. Of particular concern is the unavailability of Lopinavir syrup, which is crucial for pediatric AIDS patients. The market price of this syrup is approximately Rs. 2600.
The annual budget for each center typically ranges from Rs 5 to 10 lakh. However, due to budget constraints, districts like Dungarpur, Banswara, Pali, Bhilwara, and Jalore have depleted their CD4 test kit supplies, with a count of zero. Additionally, in locations such as Barmer, Sikar, and Kota, there are challenges in repairing CD4 count machines. These machines are crucial for determining a patient's T-cell count, which in turn guides the prescription of appropriate medicines and their dosage. Furthermore, challenges have arisen in procuring medicines and meeting employee salary obligations.
In addition to these issues, specialized medicines and test kits are essential components of institutions like DEPCU, ART Centre, ART Plus Centre, ICTC Centre, PPTC Centre, STI Centre, SRL Laboratory, CD4 and Viral Load Testing Laboratory, and OST Centre, all of which play active roles in the AIDS control program.
Rule to provide free testing and treatment to AIDS patients
Approximately 59,000 AIDS patients are currently connected to ART centers within the state. The Supreme Court has instituted regulations mandating free testing, counseling, and treatment services for HIV patients nationwide. In 2017, the central government passed the AIDS Treatment Bill, placing the responsibility on both central and state governments to offer discrimination-free, cost-free treatment to such patients. State AIDS Control Societies are established in every state in the country, with budgets allocated annually by the National AIDS Control Society.
Due to budget constraints, AIDS centers are encountering difficulties in covering daily expenses, procuring laboratory materials, stationery, medicines, meeting organization expenses, travel allowances, and employee salaries related to handling test samples. However, following employee protests, some budget has recently been allocated at the state level for monthly salaries.