Mumbai: Byculla, Arthur Road jails to get dedicated link ART centres

Nov 30, 2018, 11:22 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Until now, the police had been taking the inmates to JJ Hospital for their regular dose of medicines. MSACS is planning to start these centres to make the process easier

Mumbai: Byculla, Arthur Road jails to get dedicated link ART centres
Failure to maintain regular intake of medicines can lead to drug resistance among HIV+ patients, say experts. Representational Image

This World AIDS Day, Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) brings relief to hundreds of HIV-infected prisoners from Byculla and Arthur Road jails. For the first time, the government body will start link anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres at prisons where the patients will be given the medicines. Besides this, an link ART centre will be opened at the police hospital.

Until now, the police had been taking the inmates to JJ Hospital for their regular dose of medicines. MSACS is planning to start these centres to make the process easier.

Speaking about the initiative, Dr Srikala Acharya, additional project director of the Mumbai District Aids Control Society, said, "Presently, the prisoners have to travel all the way to JJ Hospital every month or two to procure the medicines. These link ART centres will help around 150 of them to get the same inside the jail. The centre will not only help do away with the travel hassle, but it will also take the pressure off patients going to other ART centres, as they will encounter shorter queues."

The jail staffers and medical officials have been trained to provide guidance, and these three centres will be maintained by the state government. A fourth link ART centre will be opened at Malvani's urban health centre in coordination with KEM Hospital's community medicine department.

Last year, an ART centre was launched in the city's red light district, Kamathipura, for better diagnosis and to ensure HIV+ sex workers get their regular dose of medicines.

"It is essential to take medicines regularly. Failure to do so can lead to drug resistance among patients. Hence, it is a welcome move that the government is opening more ART centres, especially in jails," said Dr Sudhir Mehta, an HIV expert.

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