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HIV declining in India; New infections reduced by 50%
Published on 13 Jan. 2011 12:55 AM IST
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India has made remarkable progress in combating HIV/AIDS over the last ten years by reducing the overall exposure to this killer disease by 50%, according to the HIV estimates 2008-09 developed by National Aids Control Organisation) NACO with support from National Institute of Medical Sciences, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, UNAIDS and WHO.
Of the 1.2 lakh estimated new infections in 2009, the six high prevalence states accounted for only 39% of the cases, while the states of Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat accounted for 41% of new infections.
The estimated adult HIV prevalence in India was 0.32% (0.26% – 0.41%) in 2008 and 0.31% (0.25% – 0.39%) in 2009. The adult prevalence was 0.26% among women and 0.38% among men in 2008, and 0.25% among women and 0.36% among men in 2009.
It was stated that HIV had declined notably in Tamil Nadu to reach 0.33% in 2009. However, the low prevalence states of Chandigarh, Orissa, Kerala, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya show rising trends in adult HIV prevalence in the last four years.
A clear decline was also evident in HIV prevalence among the young population (15-24 yrs) at national level, both among men and women, as per the estimates. Stable to declining trends in HIV prevalence among the young population (15-24 yrs) were also noted in most of the states.
The 2008-09 estimates confirmed the clear decline of HIV prevalence among Female Sex Workers at national levels and in most states. However, the evidence showed that Injecting Drug Users and Men who have Sex with Men were more and more vulnerable to HIV with increasing trends in many states.
Wider access to ART resulted in a decline of the number of people dying due to AIDS related causes. The trend of annual AIDS deaths showed a steady decline since the roll out of free ART programme in India in 2004.
The 2008-09 estimates stated that India’s response to the HIV epidemic and the broad social mobilisation of stakeholders has achieved significant results in controlling the HIV epidemic. The achievements warranted the need for further commitment and coordinated joint action that is guided by the best available scientific evidence and technical knowledge.
Evident from the 2008-2009 HIV estimates, NACP-III has yielded significant results in addressing previously existing gaps in the AIDS response, as well as the social and structural constraints.
The estimates identified the need to build on the gains and focus on the emerging areas of concern. It stated that the spread of HIV in the low prevalence and vulnerable states must be thwarted through sustainable effort and investment on prevention, coupled with innovative strategies.
K Chandramouli, Secretary to government of India, ministry of health & family welfare and director general, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) said that the 2008-09 HIV estimates would not only enable an assessment of the effectiveness and coverage of current HIV interventions, but also support identification of potential areas where HIV was increasing.”
He said close engagement with civil society and people living with and affected by HIV would prevent new infections and produce measurable impacts. He stressed the need to protect people most affected, and promote human and gender rights. “For this, India is working towards a comprehensive response to AIDS that unifies forces of stakeholders and integrates HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” he added.
The estimates highlighted
India had approximately 1.2 lakh new HIV infections in 2009, as against 2.7 lakh in 2000.
Adult HIV prevalence at national level declined from 0.41% in 2000 to 0.31% in 2009.
New annual HIV infections declined by more than 50% over the past decade.
2008-09 estimates utilised improved methodology and updated epidemiological data from the latest rounds of HIV Sentinel Surveillance and other information on High Risk Groups for more accurate understanding of the Indian epidemic.
Manipur has shown the highest estimated adult HIV prevalence of 1.40%, followed by Andhra Pradesh (0.90%), Mizoram (0.81%), Nagaland (0.78%), Karnataka (0.63%) and Maharashtra (0.55%). Besides these states, Goa, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have shown estimated adult HIV prevalence greater than national prevalence (0.31%), while Delhi, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh & Puducherry have shown estimated adult HIV prevalence of 0.28-0.30%. All other states/UTs have lower levels of HIV.

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