India has 21.17 lakh people living with HIV, the third largest in the world after South Africa (68 lakh) and Nigeria (34 lakh), health minister J P Nadda informed Lok Sabha.
To facilitate this, the government has decided to revamp its National AIDS Control Programme and extend free anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to those with a CD4 cell count of less than 500, earlier this was at 300. CD4 is a type of white blood cell that fights infection.
At present, Nadda said there are 524 ART centres and 1,094 link centres in the country providing free anti-retroviral therapy, treatment for opportunistic infections and counselling services to 9.25 lakh people living with HIV.
Contributed By Sonia Narula