Viral Load Test for HIV/AIDS Patients, What is Mission Sampark?What is 90:90:90 Target? (Important) (Download PDF)


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The government launched scheme to provide free of cost viral load testing, at least once a year, for 1.2 million People who are Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and are on treatment at 530 ART centers.

Image Free viral load testing for people living with HIV/aids

Image Free Viral Load Testing for People Living with HIV/Aids

Image Free viral load testing for people living with HIV/aids

What is Viral Load Test?

  • The viral load is used to monitor the effectiveness of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) over time. It measures the amount of HIV genetic material (RNA) in the blood and reports how many copies of the virus are present.

  • The initiative of the government will monitor the effectiveness of treatment of patients on lifelong ART treatment.

How Will the Test Work?

  • The routine viral load testing will optimize the utilization of first line regimens, thus preventing drug resistance and ensuring the longevity of people living with HIV.

  • Viral load testing will empower medical officers at ART to detect failure on first line treatment early and therefore save PLHIV from developing resistance to drugs.

  • It will strengthen ‘Mission Sampark’ in tracking LFU (loss to follow up) PLHIV and to be brought under ART services


  • In 2017, India revised the ART treatment protocols to initiate all PLHIV on ART.

  • The ‘treat all’ initiative was started to ensure that treatment is started early and the virus transmission is curtailed both at the individual and the community level.

  • With increase in number of PLHIV on treatment the monitoring needs have also increased.

  • India has the third largest population of people with HIV after South Africa and Nigeria, according to UNAIDS.

  • The report released in July 2017 revealed that in India, only 49 % of patients were on Antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2016.

What is Mission Sampark?

  • 11.5 lakh People Living with HIV (PLHIVs) are taking free ART through 536 ART centres in the country. India still has big challenge to trace those who are Left to Follow Up and are to be brought under ART services.

  • To solve this problem Mission “SAMPARK” was launched which takes “Community Based Testing”closer to those in need, enabling fast-tracking the identification of all who are HIV positive and subsequently linking to ART programme.

  • National Strategic Plan 2017 - 24 will pave a roadmap not only for achieving the target of 90: 90: 90 but also strives along with partners towards fast track strategy of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

  • Major focus area is the prevention of dual infection i. e. Mother to Child transmission of HIV and Mother to Child transmission of Syphilis, Smt. Patel stated.

What is 90: 90: 90 Strategy?

  • It is a new HIV treatment narrative of UNAIDS programme which sets targets of 90 % of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status (90 % diagnosed)

  • 90 % of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (90 % on HIV treatment)

  • 90 % of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression (90 % suppressed).

What is ART?

  • ART are medications that treat HIV. The drugs do not kill or cure the virus. However, when taken in combination they can prevent the growth of the virus.

  • When the virus is slowed down, so is HIV disease. Antiretroviral drugs are referred to as ARV. Combination ARV therapy (cART) is referred to as highly active ART (HAART).

What is AIDS?

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection.

  • AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. This puts risk for serious infections and certain cancers. It is the final stage of infection with HIV. Not everyone with HIV develops AIDS.

  • HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person.

  • It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth.

  • The first signs of HIV infection may be swollen glands and flu-like symptoms. These may come and go within two to four weeks. Severe symptoms may not appear until months or years later.

  • A blood test can tell if there is an HIV infection.

  • There is no cure, but there are many medicines that fight HIV infection and lower the risk of infecting others. People who get early treatment can live with the disease for a long time.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018


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