New Delhi, Sep 23 (PTI) Notification of tuberculosis cases in India from January to August this year stood at 11,76,164 as against 16,49,310 cases notified during the corresponding period in 2019, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey told Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Giving details of the impact of COVID-19 on reporting of TB cases and detection of HIV cases, he pointed out that under the government's National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), a decline has been noticed in the number of individuals attending HIV Counselling and testing/screening centres during the pandemic.
'This is due to lack of transport services and reduced mobility thereof. During March-July 2020, around 1.40 crore HIV testing have been reported under NACP facilities in comparison to 2.32 crore testing in March-July 2019.
'As a result of a decrease in testing/screening, detection of new HIV cases has also reduced. During the period of March-July 2020, there have been around 41,400 HIV positive results at NACP facilities, down from 82,200 HIV positive results in corresponding months of 2019,' he said in a written reply.
In response to a question on whether the government anticipates an increase in the incidence of TB and HIV as a result of the pandemic, Choubey said, 'Currently, there is no evidence to suggest an increase in the incidence of TB cases as a result of the pandemic'.
However, steps have been taken by the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic impact on tuberculosis services, he said in a written reply.
The government has taken measures such as issuing multiple advisories to ensure uninterrupted services during COVID-19, guidance on ensuring the functionality of TB diagnostic labs, provision of free TB drugs of extended duration and door-step delivery, Guidance for Bi-directional TB-COVID screening and screening of TB among ILI/SARI cases issued to state and UTs to ensure affordable and accessible treatment to TB patients.
Choubey further said as of now, evidence does not anticipate an increase in HIV incidence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on uptake of HIV/AIDS services, NACP has issued guidance notes to states and UTs' AIDS Control Societies to facilitate continuity of HIV prevention, testing and treatment services as much as possible through differentiated modalities like multi-month dispensation of anti-retroviral treatment and community-based screening for HIV among others, he said. PTI PLB NSD