21.40 Lakh People Living with HIV in India, Nearly Half Are Women

Around 87,580 new HIV infections and 69,110 AIDS-related deaths occurred last year, as per the report

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Volunteers pose with HIV/AIDS awareness messages on their faces during an event  ahead of the World AIDS Day in  Chandigarh. Image used for representation only.

India had an estimated 21.40 lakh people living with HIV in 2017, with slightly more than two-fifths being women, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) said on Friday, 14 September.

It said the annual new HIV infection cases have declined by more than 60 percent since 2000, but the rate of decline between 2010 and 2017 have been 27 percent, far behind the pace needed to reach the 2020 target of 75 per cent reduction in new cases of infection.

Around 87,580 new HIV infections and 69,110 AIDS-related deaths occurred last year, the HIV Estimations 2017 report stated.

The results of the 2017 round of HIV Estimates confirm the national declining trend in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths corroborating India’s success story in curbing the epidemic. But there is no place for complacency as new HIV infections are stable to rising in some places.
Excerpt from the report

Sustained Commitment and Vigorous Action Needed: Report

"Between 2010 and 2017, new infections have declined only by 27 percent. While this is better than the global average of 16 percent, a new impetus is clearly needed to fast track HIV prevention efforts to achieve the 75 percent reduction in new infections by 2020 against the 2010 baseline," the report stated.

The number of new infection cases are declining nationally except for five states -- Arunachal Pradesh (65 percent), Assam (37 percent), Mizoram (18 percent), Meghalaya (10 percent) and Uttarakhand (four percent) where such cases increased last year in comparison to 2010.

In Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, and Nagaland, the decline has been 10 percent or less.

Sustained commitment and much more vigorous action are needed to reach the ambitious prevention and treatment targets set for 2020 in view of ending AIDS by 2030, the HIV Estimations 2017 report stated.

Over 190 countries, including India, have pledged to end AIDS by 2030 by adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Lowest Adult HIV Cases in J&K, Highest Numbers in Maharashtra

As far as adult HIV prevalence in the country is concerned, Mizoram was at the top with 2.04 percent, followed by Manipur at 1.43 percent and Nagaland at 1.15 percent.

Telangana (0.7 percent), Andhra Pradesh (0.63 percent) Karnataka (0.47 percent), Goa (0.42 percent), Maharashtra (0.33 percent) and Delhi (0.30 percent) had higher adult HIV prevalence than the national average last year, the report highlighted.

Jammu and Kashmir had the lowest adult HIV prevalence in the country at 0.03 per cent. With 3.30 lakh people living with HIV, Maharashtra had the highest number of such cases, contributing 15 percent of total such population in the country.

Along with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar contributed almost three-fourth of the total number of people living with HIV in country.

“As HIV incidence continues to be much higher in female sex workers, men who have sex with men, injection drug users and hijra/transgender people, these high-risk groups must continue to be the primary target of HIV prevention efforts,” the report stated.

Since 2005, the number of annual AIDS-related deaths have declined by almost 71 percent.

AIDS-related deaths have dropped across India after attaining a peak in the period from 2005 to 2010, with the exception of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttarakhand.

These are states where the implementation of the ART (antiretroviral therapy) programme needs to be more closely monitored and strengthened.

Another critical target is elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV which, the estimations show, was within striking distance in many states and Union Territories with national Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) coverage of 60 percent in 2016-17.

However, the major challenges remain and must be urgently addressed, especially in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana where the PMTCT coverage is still significantly lower than the national average, the report by the NACO stated.

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