Qualified counselors at one of the two anti-retroviral therapy centers in the Indian city of Dehradun have reportedly been advocating the effects of divine intervention over scientific treatments in curing AIDS. These therapy centers have also been reported to have a poor stock of medication and treatment options.
According to patients at these therapy centers, counselors are not equipped enough even to lend a tolerant ear, let alone provide proper psychological support to those who need it. The patients’ family members have gone on to say the therapy centers have an absolute dearth of information regarding the infection, its prevention or treatment.
“The counselor told me there is no use taking the ART drugs. I should eat properly and pray to God to get well soon,” said a patient at the centre.
“I remember asking them about ways to take care of my relative without being affected by the disease. The young girl sitting there gave me a blank stare,” said the patient's relative.
Reportedly, the counselors failed to answer questions pertaining to the lifespan of the human immunodeficiency virus outside the body and appropriate ways of disposing medical waste acquired during the treatment of AIDS.
With more than 5,800 AIDS patients, the Indian state of Uttarakhand is one of the low-prevalence but high-risk states in the country. According to healthcare experts however, negligence over the increasing number of AIDS patients may soon make Uttarakhand a high-prevalence state.
“It's very important for the state to start working towards preventing the disease like the southern states. Depending only on the national program will not suffice,” said a member of Uttarakhand Association of Positive People, a community-based organization that deals with HIV/AIDS.
Photo Credits: The Hindu