The HIV/AIDS Control activities in Goa, commenced way back in 1984 with surveillance done amongst High Risk Groups through Directorate of Health Services. The Health Education Bureau at the Directorate of Health Services was the Nodal Agency for all the Programme activities. In 1986-87, when the first HIV case came to light, the STD Control Programme at the Directorate of Health Services coordinated all the activities, which finally led to the creation of AIDS Cell at the Directorate of Health Services.
As HIV/AIDS turned out to be a major Public Health Problem in Goa, in order to take multi pronged interventions, the Goa State AIDS
Control Society (Goa SACS) was created and got registered in 1997 to function under the guidelines of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), keeping in view the national pattern. The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and the Goa State AIDS Control Society (Goa SACS) are the wings of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at Government of India and State level respectively. Today, Goa State AIDS Control Society is functioning under the Project Director, monitored by the Executive Body under Chairmanship of Pr. Secretary (Health), Government of Goa.
Goa is a tiny State on the west coast with a total population of about 14.58 lakhs surrounded by high HIV prevalent States like Maharashtra and Karnataka. Since the first detected case of HIV/AIDS in Goa in 1987, there has been a steady decline in the reported number of HIV/AIDS cases. The epidemic has crossed over from highrisk groups to general population, from urban to rural areas and from adults to children. HIV is now prevalent in all parts of Goa and almost two-thirds of the cases are reported from the four coastal talukas of Goa. Sexual route is predominant mode of transmission being more than 90%. Goa has been classified as a moderate prevalent State based on the sentinel survey data. Goa has always been in the forefront in combating HIV/AIDS.
Goa SACS over the last few years had initiated various measures and also developed certain infrastructure facilities/ services for the control and prevention of HIV/AIDS. During the last three years, the HIV positive cases are on the decline.
The multi-pronged measures taken amongst this multifaceted problem has definitely raised the questions before us:
What has been accomplished in the past? Where do we need to reach? And what needs to be done to reach there?
National AIDS Control Programme Phase III (NACP III) was launched in July 2007 with the goal of Halting and Reversing the Epidemic by the end of project period in mid 2012. The NACP-III strategy and implementation plan emerged out of the synthesis of evidence and wide range of consultations with government departments, civil society, public and private sector partners, people living with HIV and NGOs. The entire process was a home grown yet world class program that was appreciated by the global community. NACP-IV will continue to be inclusive, participatory and adopt the widely consultative approach similar to that of NACP-III.
The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) has initiated the process of planning for the next phase of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP IV). The programme is expected to build on the successes of NACP-III to sustain the reversal of the epidemic
through enhanced prevention, and reinforced care, support and treatment. Programme reviews indicate that most of the targets set for NACP-III are well on track to be achieved by the end of the programme, in terms of scale-up of coverage of key populations, safe blood supply, testing services, scale-up of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), and various interventions supporting community ownership and Greater Involvement of People living with HIV (GIPA).
NACP IV will continue to be inclusive and focused on marginalised, weaker sections and hard-to-reach population. NACP has explored various approaches towards this. NACP IV will continue to provide care, support and treatment to all eligible population along with focused prevention services for the high-risk groups and vulnerable populations. The NACP IV planning is adopting the inclusive, participatory and widely consultative approach similar to that of NACP III and is further strengthening on the globally acclaimed and successful planning efforts of NACP III. The process will essentially involve a wide range of consultations with a large number of partners including government departments, development partners, non-governmental organizations, civil society, representatives of people living with HIV, positive networks and experts in various subjects. NACP IV development will use specific mechanisms and follow a structured process. However, consolidating the gains and ensuring quality and coverage will require attention in the next few years.