According to a recent study in the British Medical Journal, India has an HIV/AIDS population of approximately 1.4-1.6 million people. The estimated number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in India has declined drastically in recent years—from 5.5 million in 2005 to below 2.5 million in 2007. These new figures are supported by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. According to the United Nations 2011 AIDS report, there has been a 50% decline in the number of new HIV infections in the last 10 years in India.
In 1986, the first known case of HIV was diagnosed by Dr. Suniti Solmon amongst female sex workers in Chennai. Later that year, sex workers began showing signs of this deadly disease. At that time, foreigners in India were traveling in and out of the country. It is thought that these foreigners were the ones responsible for the first infections. By 1987, about 135 more cases came to light. Among these 14 had already progressed to AIDS. Prevalence in high risk groups reached above 5% by 1990. As per UNDP‘s 2010 report, India had 2.39 million (23.95 lakh) people living with HIV at the end of 2009, up from 2.27 million (22.7 lakh) in 2008. Adult prevalence also rose from 0.29% in 2008 to 0.31% in 2009.
In 1986, HIV started its epidermic in India, attacking sex workers in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Setting up HIV screening centres was the first step taken by the government to screen its citizens and the blood bank.
To control the spread of the virus, the Indian government set up the National AIDS Control Programme in 1987 to co-ordinate national responses such as blood screening and health education.
In 1992, the government set up the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to oversee policies and prevention and control programmes relating to HIV and AIDS and the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) for HIV prevention. The State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) was set up in 25 societies and 7 union territories to improving blood safety.
In 1999, the second phase of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP II) was introduced to decrease the reach of HIV by promoting behaviour change. The prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme (PMTCT) and the provision of antiretroviral treatment were materialized.
In 2007, the third phase of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP III) targeted the high-risk groups, conducted outreach programmes, amongst others. It also decentralised the effort to local levels and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide welfare services to the affected.
Soon after the first cases emerged in 1986, the Government of India established the National AIDS Committee within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This formed the basis for the current apex Government of India body for HIV surveillance, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). The majority of HIV surveillance data collected by the NACO is done through annual unlinked anonymous testing of prenatal clinic (or antenatal clinics) and sexually transmitted infection clinic attendees. Annual reports of HIV surveillance are freely available on NACO’s website.
The first National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) was implemented over seven years (1992-1999), focused on monitoring HIV infection rates among risk populations in selected urban areas. The second phase ran between 1999 and 2006 and the original program was expanded at state level, focusing on targeted interventions for high-risk groups and preventive interventions among the general population. A National Council on AIDS was formed during this phase, consisting of 31 ministries and chaired by the Prime Minister. HIV/Aids was understood not purely as a health issues, but also a development issue and as such it was mainstreamed into all ministries and departments. The third stage dramatically increased targeted interventions, aiming to halt and reverse the epidemic by integrating programmes for prevention, care, support and treatment. By the end of 2008, targeted interventions covered almost 932,000 of those most at risk, or 52% of the target groups (49% of FSWs, 65% of IDUs and 66% of MSM). In 2009 India established a “National HIV and AIDS Policy and the World of Work”, which sough to end discrimination against workers on the basis of their real or perceived HIV status. Under this policy all enterprises in the public, private, formal and informal sectors are encouraged to establish workplace policies and programmes based on the principles of non-discrimination, gender equity, health work environment, non-screening for the purpose of employment, confidentiality, prevention and care and support. Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute have called for greater attention to migrant workers, whose concerns about their immigration status may exclude them from these policies and leave them particularly vulnerable.
No agency is tasked with enforcing non-discrimination policy, instead multi-sectoral approach has been developed involving awareness campaigns in the private sector. HIV/AIDS-related television shows and movies have appeared in the past few years, mostly in an effort to appeal to the middle class. An important component of these programs has been the depiction of HIV/AIDS affected persons interacting with non-infected persons in everyday life. Vilification of infected persons has occurred, as the disease has become more popularly associated with sex workers These efforts have focused on increasing tolerance and awareness among the middle class in an effort to diminish the portion of the population affected by HIV/AIDS by developing public concern and calls for greater governmental action. The HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest killers of human beings on earth. There is no absolute reliable drug so far available that can cure the diseases. Controlling HIV/AID is an alternate best solution. In control measures, large number of stakeholders can play important role. The following paragraphs are excerpts on how Supreme Court of India gave exhaustive recommendations to such stakeholders.Sapovadia, Vrajlal K., Controlling Hiv/Aids – a Judicial Measure, Recommendations by Supreme Court of India. HIV/AIDS e-Conference, 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=955723
In 2010, NACO approved the TeachAIDS educational materials marking the first time HIV/AIDS education could be provided decoupled from sex education. Later that year, the Government of Karnataka approved the materials for their state of 50 million and committed to distributing them in 5,500 government schools.
- People living with HIV: 2.4 million
- People receiving ART: 320,100
India is one of the most populous countries in the world, second only to China. While HIV prevalence in India is relatively low at 0.3%, in absolute terms this number represents millions of people living with HIV – the third largest HIV positive population after South Africa’s and Nigeria’s. In 2009, only 3.2% of Indian adults aged 15 to 49 had gotten tested for HIV in the past year.
AHF in India
Since beginning work in India in 2004, AHF has emerged as a preeminent HIV/AIDS organization, known for high quality treatment and support services, and for successful leadership in efforts to increase access to condoms, testing and treatment.
To bring free HIV testing to those most at risk, AHF operates a mobile testing van in New Delhi, which conducts regular outreach targeting migrant truckers, sex workers and injecting drug users.
AHF was the first care provider in India to introduce free ART for clients who’d developed resistance to medication. As a result of our advocacy efforts, the government began providing this second-line therapy as well.
Statistics from UNAIDS.org, 2011, unless otherwise stated.
The following web site contains information material about HIV / AIDS. This web site is especially designed for educational purpose (especially for young generation internet users). Amongst the different AIDS web sites visited by us we found that graphical part was missing in many of them. So we have tried our best to include maximum amount of graphics in our web site. The material chosen for this web site is specially oriented for Indian population: