ART CENTRE

ART CENTRES
The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) III plans to strengthen family and community care through psychosocial support of the individuals, more particularly to marginalized women and children affected by the epidemic, improve compliance of the prescribed Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) regimen, and address stigma and discrimination associated with the epidemic. Development of ART has dramatically reduced the HIV related morbidity and mortality. The first ART Centre in Mizoram was established in Civil Hospital, Aizawl. Currently there are three ART Centres;

ART Centres in Mizoram

       1.   ART Centre, Aizawl (has been upgraded to ART Plus) on 6th February 2006

       2.   ART Centre, Champhai 16th December 2010

       3.   ART Centre, Lunglei 6th February 2011

Functions of the ART Centre: Functions of the ART centre can be divided as medical, psychological and social as indicated below:

1. Medical functions:

       *   To diagnose and treat opportunistic infections

       *   To screen PLHIV for eligibility to initiate ART (CD4 testing)

       *   To monitor patients on ART and manage side effect, if any.

       *   To provide in patient care as and when required.

       *   To facilitate linkages between other service providers

       *   To facilitate easy access to specialist's care as necessary.

2. Psychological functions:

       *   To provide psychological support to PLHIV accessing the RT centre

       *   To provide counseling for adherence to ARV drugs

       *   To educate PLHIV on proper nutrition

       *   To advise for risk reduction behaviour including usage of condoms

3. Social functions:

       *   To facilitate PLHA to access available resources provided by the government and NGO agencies

       *   To facilitate linkages between other service providers and patients, like educational help for the children and income generation programmes.

LINK ART CENRE (LAC)

Since ART centres are mainly located in medical colleges, tertiary hospitals and district hospitals in some states, patients from peripheral areas have to travel long distances to reach the ART centre. Since treatment is lifelong and drugs are provided once a month, it means patient has to come to the ART centre once a month for the rest of his life, this may lead to missing of visits especially if the patient has to travel long distances. Also monthly visits lead to a lot of rush at the ART centre, leading to long waiting hours and inconvenience to the patients. The monthly visits may also entail the patients stay in the city leading to escalation of costs in addition to travel cost. These factors have been perceived as potential barriers to an optimal adherence for ART centre. To minimize the travel need of the patients stable on ART, LINK ARTs are being established nearer to the patient's residence. These centres will be linked to the nodal ART Centre within accessible distance. There are 5 LACs in Mizoram, one each in Kolasib, Serchhip, Lawngtlai, Saiha and Mamit districts.