Saturday, 21 July 2007

Five facts about India's HIV threat

Five facts about India's HIV threat

Submitted by erku on Sat, 2007-07-21 13:30.
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India, thought to have the most HIV infected people in the world, announced dramatically lower U.N.-backed estimates on Friday, more than halving the figure to 2.47 million. The new numbers put India behind South Africa and Nigeria.

Here are five facts about AIDS in India. The first states that India was earlier estimated to be home to 5.7 million people with HIV, the largest caseload in the world, according to the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS).

The second enumerates that, with a population of over 1.1 billion, India's HIV prevalence rate (calculated in relation to adult numbers) was estimated at 0.9 percent. The rate now stands at 0.36 percent. This is far lower than countries like South Africa, where the infection rate is estimated at 12 percent, and Botswana, where over a third of the population is thought to be HIV-positive.

India began a programme to give free AIDS drugs to patients in 2004 but has fallen short of its target of covering 100,000 patients by 2005. Around 80,000 HIV-positive people are receiving free drugs from the state healthcare system, claims the thirs point.

The fourth fact states that the government plans to increase AIDS treatment centres from 130 to 250 by the end of 2009 and the number of people tested for HIV from four million in 2006 to 42 million by 2012.

Finally, the last fact is that a government survey revealed more than 40 percent of Indian women have not heard of AIDS, despite the first case being reported in the country in 1986. HIV-positive people also face discrimination due to the stigma attached to it. - DDNEWS India

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