A ‘Full-site sensitization program on HIV/AIDS’ was conducted by the NACO designated State Reference Laboratory, Department of Immunopathology, PGIMER, Chandigarh on 16th Feb, 2013. This program was mainly meant to sensitize various categories of Health Care Workers working in different departments of PGIMER on latest issues of HIV/AIDS. More than 100 healthcare workers including faculty members, resident doctors, nurses, nursing students, medical technologists, counselors and others attended the program. The program included various lectures starting with a session by Dr Archana Mohan, Consultant (Care and support) State AIDS Control society, UT, Chandigarh on ‘An overview of National AIDS Control Programs’ as released by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India. This was followed by a session conducted by Dr Sunil Arora, Professor and In- charge of Integrated Counseling & Testing Center (ICTC) and State Reference Laboratory in PGI, on HIV diagnosis in adults and new born children. While discussing in details the National HIV testing Policies and different HIV testing strategies, he emphasized on ICTC based testing as per NACO guidelines which involves pre-test counseling with informed consent and proper delivery of report along with post-test counseling. Dr Aman Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine and Nodal Officer-Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) center in PGI deliberated on various treatment modalities available and importance of post-exposure prophylaxis in reducing the chances of HIV transmission in health care settings. Various modalities to reduce the chance of transmission of HIV from infected mother to her newly born child were discussed by Dr Rashmi Bagga, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She informed the benefits of HIV screening of all ante-natal mothers and use of anti-retroviral drugs during pregnancy and at the time of child birth in HIV positive females bringing the chances of HIV transmission down from nearly 30% to less than 2%. There was a session on bio-safety precautions in health care settings to minimize the chances of infection from patients to HCW and from HCWs to patients by Dr Vikas Gautam, Associate professor of Medical Microbiology. In the end Prof Rajesh Kumar, Head School of Public Health in PGI had an important session on Care and support for people living with HIV AIDS.
NACO sponsors such programs to update and disseminate the latest information regarding HIV/AIDS to the health care workers on regular basis.