HIV/AIDS testing kits shortage to continue in State

HIV/AIDS testing kits shortage to continue in State

“We received the last batch of testing kits on August 25. People are accusing counsellors for not providing adequate testing kits or providing them to people who pay them more,” said one of the counsellors.

He added that district hospitals were given two boxes of kits, while the primary health centres were given one box each. A box contains 48 testing kit samples out of which eight go for quality check and only 40 tests can actually be taken. Karnataka has been facing shortage of kits since the last three months. The situation was no different in other states too.

The Karnataka State HIV/AIDS Counsellors’ Association president Faiz Ahmed suggested that to tide over the problem, state funds be utilised.  “Each Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) is given a target of conducting 500 tests. If the counsellors do not achieve this target, we are given notice from Karnataka State AIDS Control Prevention (KSAPS) for low performance. This will then affect our performance-based hike in salary,” he said.

However, NACO clearly stated that adequate supply in possible only by December. Speaking to Deccan Herald, D Bachani, deputy director general, NACO, said that the load of testing has been more than what NACO expected. “Consumption in the last year was unusually higher than what was anticipated. We annually provide 1.5 crore testing kits across the country,” he said. This ensures that there are enough leftover testing kits for another year.

However, with unexpected rise in the usage of kits, they have been exhausted. Apparently, there was also a problem in the bidding process at the start of the new financial year. However, Bachani promised that within a fortnight, HIV/AIDS testing kits would be provided to states facing acute scarcity including Karnataka.

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