Barcelona (ACN).- The HIV/AIDS programme of the 'Fundació Vicente Ferrer' has successfully provided health coverage to 90% of HIV infected people in the Indian District of Anantapur, in the State of Andhra Pradesh. These are hopeful figures and are similar to those of developed countries. Four years have passed since the programme started to operate, with the support of Barcelona's ‘Hospital Clínic’. In this period, mortality has decreased from 90% to 14% one year after patients are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The HIV transmission rate from infected mothers to their children has been cut from 30% to 6%. The number is even lower when the women are being monitored by a hospital, reaching only a transmission rate of 2%.
The Head of infectious diseases at Barcelona's ‘Hospital Clínic’, Josep Maria Gatell pointed out that 90% of the registered HIV infected population in the Anantapur District in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh receives Antiretroviral Treatment (ART); a number comparable to the coverage offered currently in developed countries. Four years after the project's launch, the HIV/AIDS programme of the 'Fundació Vicente Ferrer' (FVF), developed with the support of the ‘Hospital Clínic’, is one of India's biggest HIV/AIDS treatment centres. It has a total number of 5,000 patients in Antiretroviral Therapy and 12,432 registered patients. In this four-year period, the prevalence of the disease has been successfully cut by half, improving the diagnosis, reducing mortality from 90% to 14%, and decreasing the transmission rate from mothers to their children from 30% to 6%.
The partnership between the FVF and the ‘Hospital Clínic’ began in 2007, and this past Monday has been renewed for four more years,
The Anantapur health project against HIV/AIDS started in 1991. Barcelona’s ‘Hospital Clínic’, a global reference centre in HIV/AIDS treatment, shares this area of expertise with the medical staff of the foundation since 2005. It is estimated that nowadays the prevalence of HIV infection in the Anantapur District has decreased to 0.3%, whereas in 2003 it was 1.1%. This district has a population of almost 4 million people.
Cervical cancer is also in the spotlight
Furthermore, the ‘Fundació Vicente Ferrer’ has developed a specific programme to prevent cervical cancer, as well as the systematic vaccination of children from HIV infected mothers. A laboratory for patient control tests has also been developed, a pioneer centre in determining HIV viral load in rural areas of India.
The 'Fundació Vicente Ferrer' works closely with the Indian Government in order to fight HIV/AIDS in Anantapur, and on November 2010 the administration acknowledged the HIV/AIDS Hospital as the official centre to provide Retroviral Treatment. Since then, the government has been taking care of all expenses of all retroviral drugs. The CEO of the Foundation, and Vicente Ferrer's nephew, Jordi Folgado, stressed that "the most important thing is the example we are giving. Somehow, the goals we are achieving are an example to other organisations and the government" (…) "I am convinced that the Indian Government will have to increase the number of centres and their quality. That is why I am more than convinced that we are, somehow, a glow torch for India".