Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre
The Integrated Counselling & Testing Centre (ICTC) is a gate-way, entry point for a host of HIV/AIDS related services in prevention & care. In Tamil Nadu there are 2163 centers that offer counselling and testing services. TANSACS is supporting 377 Stand-Alone ICTCs in Medical College Hospitals, District Headquarters Hospitals and Government Hospitals etc. 403 SA-ICTCs are supported by NRHM at block level Primary Health Centers & Community Health Centers. 1367 Facility-Integrated ICTCs at PHC level are also providing counselling and testing services.
TANSACS initiated 211 Public-Private Partnership ICTCs (PPP) to strengthen Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) coverage. In order to extend counseling & testing facility services to the remote and inaccessible areas, 16 Mobile ICTC vans are provided by TANSACS for Coimbatore, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Erode, Kanyakumari, Krishnagiri, The Nilgiris, Namakkal, Salem, Sivagangai, Theni, Tiruvannamalai, Trichy, Virudhunagar, Vellore and Chennai Districts. These mobile ICTC are equipped with TV & DVD and being manned by a Counselor and Lab Technician to provide counselling and testing services, respectively to people living in hard to reach areas of the above Districts. These vehicles are operated by the respective District AIDS Prevention and Control Units (DAPCUs).
The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), New Delhi has recently revised the ICTC guidelines into HIV Counselling and Testing Services (HCTS) facilities guidelines 2016.
All HCTS facilities have been divided into two groups:
Screening Facilities (F-ICTC, PPP-ICTC, TI-ICTC)
Confirmatory Facilities (Stand Alone ICTC)
Early testing and diagnosis, on a voluntary basis, is the gateway of HIV prevention, treatment, care and other support services. The challenge is to increase access to and uptake of HIV testing among priority populations.
HCTS continues to envisage the provisioning of comprehensive services in an integrated manner, and not limited to HIV testing. HCTS comprises of (i) counselling (pre-test counselling, informed consent and post test counselling); (ii) testing and prompt delivery of test results with embedded quality assurance; (iii) ensuring audio-visual privacy and confidentiality; and (iv) linkages to appropriate HIV prevention, care, support and treatment services. Tamilnadu meticulously follows “5 Cs (Confidentiality, Counseling, Consent, Correct test results and Connection)”, Mother to child transmission of HIV during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding is the primary cause of HIV infection among children. The Govt. of India is committed to eliminating HIV and Syphilis amongst newborns through universal screening of pregnant women for HIV and Syphilis as an essential component of the ANC service package.
To achieve this objective, on going Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) services are being implemented in close collaboration with the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme of the National Health Mission (NHM) and to scale up prevention and care interventions among women of child – bearing age and their families with a package of services which include primary prevention, family planning, voluntary counselling and confidential testing, lifelong Anti-retroviral therapy and counselling on infant feeding practices.
In order to reduce HIV related morbidity / mortality among the newborns “Early Infant Diagnosis” programme is implemented in the State through ICTCs. Under PPTCT new regimen (ARV prophylaxis), HIV exposed babies who are born to HIV positive mothers are initiated on Nevirapine syrup up to six / twelve weeks from birth. All identified HIV positive mothers and infected infants are being provided with life- long ART.