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Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society

The Tamil Nadu State Aids Control Society has been formed under the aegis of Governemnt of Tamil Nadu to spread the awareness about the dreaded disease Acquired Immuno Deficiency syndrome(AIDS) and to take care of the affected perrons without getting discriminated or being ill-treated by the society in general. It's aim is to popularise the prevention of the disease, promotion of healthy living, to curtail false notions about the disease at large.

The State AIDS Project Cell was formed in January 1993 and was initially functioning under the Control of the Director of Medical Education, Chennai.  The State AIDS Project Cell was re-constituted as the TAMIL NADU STATE AIDS CONTROL SOCIETY (TNSACS) registered under the the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, with effect from 11.5.1994, with the Secretary, Health  and Family Welfare Department, as the President of this Society and a senior I.A.S. Officer as the Member Secretary cum Project Director, to tackle the problem of AIDS in a more effective manner.   After its registration in May 1994, the State AIDS Control Society, started its activities more vigorously in full swing with the guidance and support of its Executive Committee, Technical Advisory Committee and Ethical Scientific Committee constituted by the Government.   The main components, strategies and intervention under the AIDS Control Programme are as follows:

      • Blood Safety and Training 

      • Targetted Intervention 
      • Control of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) 
      • Information , Education and Communication 
      • Care and Support for AIDS patients 
      • Training 
      • Sentinel Surveillance 
      • Programme Management 
      • Advocacy and Social Mobilisation.   

According to the 1991 census, the State of Tamil Nadu, recorded a population of 55.8 million.   For the year 1997, the projected mid-year population was 60.6 million of which the rural population accounts for 39.4 million (65 per cent)  while the urban population accounts for 21.2 million (35 per cent)

In 1986, the first HIV positive case was detected in Tamil Nadu.   That discovery moved the Government General Hospital (Chennai) and Christian Medical College Hospital (Vellore) to begin recording data on HIV/AIDS.

In India too, the HIV/AIDS problem surfaced in 1986.   Though the seriousness of the infection was not fully known in the beginning , its magnitude has now been clearly understood.   December 1999 figures show that among the 36,72,144 samples of sera that were screened, 92,312 tested positive for HIV. The epidemic today is a challenge to the present systems and a safe future depends entirely on the promptness and effectiveness of the prevention and control measures.

By December 1999, approximately 7,62,426 blood samples had been screened in Tamil Nadu.   The results revealed 14,750 HIV positive cases of which 4,354 persons were found to have developled AIDS.  Epidemiologists say that for every reported case of AIDS, a hundred go unreported.   This makes the situation  really alarming.

Earlier, it was believed that there were just two groups whose behaviour was at risk:  commercial sex workers and truck drivers.  Today, many other groups have been identified.   They are migrant labour, industrial workers, refugees, fisherman, slum dwellers, hotel and lodge workers, domestic help, street children and MSMs.  In other words, it is not who a person is, but what a person does that invites the risk.

The sentinel surveillance between the period 1993-98 indicates that STD cases top the list with a HIV prevalence of 16.27 per cent.  TB patients rank second with a prevalence of 9.6 per cent.   Antenatal women recorded a HIV prevalence of 1 .63 per cent which is lower than the corresponding figures for Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

TNSACS is tackling the problem on various fronts using different strategies to create awareness among different sub-population groups.  The efforts are beginning to show results.  Tamil Nadu can boast of the highest awareness level in the country - nearly 96 per cent.  TNSACS plans to strengthen and support the existing infrastructure to address the problem right at the grassroots level.   STD clinics are being set up across all the 29 districts, equipment is being upgraded, alternative medicine is being used more confidently and condoms are being distributed freely.  Moreover, apart from intensifying awareness campaigns, counsellors and medical officers are being trained to make a difference.

History

1986

First AIDS Case reported

1986

Government General Hospital, Madras  &  Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore  Began documenting data on HIV/AIDS

1992

NFHS date shows low awareness of AIDS among Women. 

1993

State AIDS  Cell formed in Tamil Nadu with  World Bank/ NACO funds. 

1994

State AIDS Cell transformed into Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society and HIV/AIDS Control efforts gather momentum

1995

Tamil Nadu Family Health Survey 1995 shows dramatic increase in AIDS awareness among women in Tamil Nadu.

1995

USAID funded APAC Project commences work

1996

Large increase in funding to TNSACS, leading to intensification of HIV/AIDS control efforts

1996

Pilot Project on Continuum of care launched

1997

First signs of HIV incidence slowing down in Tamil Nadu