Decline in HIV Prevalence in India Is ‘Good News’ for Country, World, Editorial Says
Experts for years have expressed concerns that India could become the "next epicenter" of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but released recently data shows a decline in HIV prevalence in southern India, which is "good news" for the country and could be a sign that the incidence of new HIV cases globally has "peaked," a Los Angeles Times editorial says (Los Angeles Times, 4/1). According to a study published last week in the online edition of the journal Lancet, the HIV prevalence among people ages 15 to 24 in southern India has declined by about 35%, primarily because of prevention campaigns aimed at commercial sex workers and their clients. The study found that HIV prevalence among women ages 15 to 24 attending prenatal clinics in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karanataka decreased to 1.1% in 2004 from 1.7% in 2001, a relative decline of 35%. Among men ages 20 to 29 attending sexually transmitted infections clinics, the researchers recorded a 36% relative decline in HIV prevalence over the same time period (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/30). The results of the study could mean "even more good news than meets the eye," according to the Times. Now that the rate of new HIV cases "appears to be slowing," the virus has "few other places where it could continue to spread so rapidly," the editorial says, adding, "[T]hese are fragile gains," but it does show that "aggressive prevention efforts around the world can work" (Los Angeles Times, 4/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.