Indian Government To Establish National Council on AIDS To Help Prevent Spread of Disease, Official Says
The Indian government will establish a National Council on AIDS to help prevent the spread of HIV in the country, an Indian official speaking on the condition of anonymity said on Wednesday, the AP/Hindustan Times reports. The new council, which will monitor public health agencies' progress on preventing the spread of HIV in India, will be headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to the official. The council also will include officials from the seven Indian states that have the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases and the federal ministries of defense, labor, highways and transport, as well as representatives from international agencies and nongovernmental organizations. The council will meet four times annually, although no date has been set for the first meeting. According to the official, the Indian government believes it needs to step up its role in evaluating existing HIV/AIDS prevention programs and create new programs to prevent the spread of the disease, the AP/Hindustan Times reports (George, AP/Hindustan Times, 5/18). UNAIDS estimates that 5.1 million HIV-positive people live in India, and some experts say the number of HIV cases in the country could reach 20 million within a decade. India currently spends about 30 cents per person annually on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, less than most African nations spend (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.