Mumbai: In a first of its kind, the Mumbai District State Aids Control Society (MDACS) will start linking Human Immuno Virus (HIV) patients through biometric. In this, patients would be identified with their fingerprints and it will start at three antiretroviral centres of the city.
This comes after the patients refused to link their aadhar card details fearing disclosure of their identity.
Linking people living with HIV/ AIDS with Aadhaar cards has allegedly driving away patients from hospitals and antiretroviral therapy (ATR) centres.
“The patients feared that the compulsory submission of Aadhaar card to get free medicines and medical check-ups under a government’s AIDS control scheme, could lead to disclosure of their identity, inviting social stigma,” said a senior health official.
Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health official, BMC, said soon will start the biometric system for the HIV patients so that their identity is not leaked. “The patients can change their name when they will give undergo biometric procedures. But they have to give register their original address so that it will become easier for us to track them if they leave their treatment in middle,” she said.
Health activists, however, said while issuing the directive the society did not take into account the negative fallout of the move. “Many patients and suspected victims started avoiding ATR centres and district hospitals after the new rule came into effect. But biometric will help them to come forward and continue with the treatment,” said one of the activists.
Social workers who are working for the welfare of AIDS patients for the past two decades, said, “When government claimed that identity of a patient would not be disclosed to even his/her spouse then why should they ask for the Aadhaar card.”