India to study if doctors prescribe proper HIV-AIDS drugs

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hiv testingIndia's HIV/AIDS agency said it has ordered a survey to see if doctors are providing the correct drugs to people infected with the virus, after a report said many doses are wrong or too strong.

The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) called for the survey in response to findings by the Geneva-based UNAIDS that Indian doctors wrongly prescribed "second-line" drugs, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

"We want to find out whether doctors are giving the right drugs and the right doses," Sujatha Rao, who heads NACO, told PTI on Sunday.

"We have found out that doctors are not equipped enough," she said.

India, with a population of 1.1 billion people, has one of the world's highest caseloads of the virus, with 5.7 million people infected, second only to South Africa.

"Second-line" drugs are needed after patients develop resistance to "first-line" medicines, and are wrongly prescribed in an effort to speed-up results.

Using "second-line" drugs can make patients resistant to therapy in the long run, UNAIDS country coordinator Denis Broun told the news agency.

Under a government programme started in 2004, about 40,000 people get free treatment for the virus in India which has one of the lowest levels of health spending per person among developing nations.

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