The first HIV case in India was detected in 1986. It was a time when there was not much knowledge and awareness about HIV. Until 2005, treatment options were limited and expensive. ART services were available only in a few public health facilities in the entire country. People Living with HIV (PLHIV) faced a lot of stigma and discrimination. They faced discrimination in schools and hospitals, denial or loss of employment and shelter at home.
HIV/AIDS was included in our mandate in 2005, with a project supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). The Round 4 Access to Care & Treatment (ACT) programme was implemented from April 2005 in the six high prevalence states -Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu.
Providing care and support
We along with our partners provided care and support services for PLHIV, while the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) looked after the antiretroviral treatment (ART) at the public health facilities. The ACT programme, which completed five years of implementation in March 2010, is an example of a unique public-private partnership.
PFI also became the civil society principal recipient of the Round 6 grant of the Global Fund. Both Round 4 and Round 6 programmes were consolidated and named Promoting Access to Care and Treatment (PACT) programme, which runs for six years from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2016.
Our PACT programme partners are Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS, Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Enable Health Society and Confederation of Indian Industry.
The PACT programme is being implemented by us in 15 states of India. Apart from the six high prevalence states, it has expanded its coverage to the eight highly vulnerable states - Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, plus Jharkhand.