Parul Sharma l Palladium - May 16 2024
Without a Vaccine Against AIDS, Early Testing is Key

Ranjita Devi’s* life took an unexpected turn in February 2023. At a screening camp in Samastipur Bihar, India, she tested positive for HIV.

The screening camp was one of many organised by Palladium as part of the Community Based HIV Testing and Linkage (CBHTL) project by AHF India Cares. “Apart from screening and linkage to care, the project team is working to dispel the myths and social stigma surrounding HIV that often contribute to delayed diagnosis,” explains Project Manager Ankit Srivastava.

“This initiative is dedicated to aiding the most marginalised and vulnerable people in society and facilitating their transition to a normal lifestyle,” he adds.

For Ranjita, her journey with Palladium’s team at the camp was far from over.

The team in Samastipur accompanied Ranjita to the ICTC Center at the District Hospital for the confirmatory test to help her confirm her diagnosis. Ranjita's the confirmatory test confirmed her positive HIV diagnosis.

With the support of healthcare professionals, Ranjita began her treatment.

Moving Forward

Today, Ranjita is living a life of dignity and understands that living with HIV is not a death sentence.

An estimated 39 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, with 2.3 million in India alone. As an HIV vaccine remains elusive, the impact of early diagnosis and immediate care for HIV patients cannot be overstated.

Moreover, linking patients to their next step in care ensures that they not only receive comprehensive medical attention, but it facilitates the ongoing monitoring of the virus' progression, management of symptoms, and prevention of additional infections.

To achieve this, AHF India Cares, a global nonprofit, collaborated with Palladium India to bolster community-based rapid testing, counseling, and linkage services across nine States and 22 districts of India. Palladium is working within the framework of the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NACP) to ensure that no one is left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The screening camp that Ranjita attended is just one of many ways the project is working in that critical fight.

In 2023 alone, the project screened a total of 251,000 people and connected 90% of patients to antiretroviral therapy. This year, the program has already screened 66,187 people for HIV and found 994 people HIV positive with 84% linked to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

As access to care enables people living with HIV to lead healthier lives with improved quality of life, the project plans to attain 100 percent linkage to care for people living with HIV/ADS. For Ranjita, that access has been life changing. “I'm indebted to the CBHTL program for giving me correct information about HIV and linking me to ART.”

“I came to know that I was pregnant after a month of my ART initiation. The Palladium team gave me the confidence and doctors reassured me and emphasised the importance of a nutritious diet and treatment adherence. Thanks to the CBHTL Project, I'm enjoying motherhood and living my life with a positive mindset."

*Name changed. For more, contact