Chigurida Badaku – Counsellor Puttana from Arunodaya talks about the ART Regimen

Puttana is HIV+ and works as a counsellor at an ART centre through Arunodaya. In this interaction, he details registering for ART tablets for the first time and how one gets guided and informed on various aspects of the regimen.

Chigurida Badaku poster

He recalls a client who came to the centre three years back for an HIV test and registered for ART. He fell off the regimen and didn’t follow medications properly. He came back three years later and is now taking tablets regularly, but is worried whether he should get married to the person he likes. Puttana advised him to inform the person about his status and proceed only if she accepts the situation. He needs to maintain a healthy diet and follow medications properly. “If you miss taking the tablets, then the chances of them working the next time will be low. Proper nutrition can help reduce the side effects of these tablets.”

Usually, when the ART tablet regimen has just been started, a little giddiness and nausea can be expected. The patient should not get scared as these will subside after the body has adjusted to the tablets. The person should also not take up any bad consumption habits because the tablets will then become ineffective; the ART tablets themselves can have some side effects on the kidneys and the liver.

For professional counsellors, time is a challenge. They are often unable to talk to all the patients at length because a lot of people may be waiting for their chance. At Arunodaya alone, 5,000 people have registered for ART support and the centre is crowded all the time.

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