India’s National AIDS Control Organization Reports 72,000 New HIV Cases in 2005
There were 72,000 new reported HIV cases in India in 2005, increasing the total number of HIV-positive adults living in the country to more than 5.2 million, according to a report released on Monday by India's National AIDS Control Organization, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/24). NACO Director-General K. Sujatha Rao on Sunday said adult HIV prevalence in India -- where 90% of HIV-positive people are unaware of their status -- now is estimated at 0.91%. More than 38% of the country's HIV-positive people are women, and more than 57% come from rural areas (Times of India, 4/24). The number of HIV-positive people living in India is second only to South Africa, where as many as 6 million people are infected. According to NACO, India is focusing on high-risk populations to control the spread of the virus (AFP/Yahoo! News, 4/24). Nearly 70% of the country's HIV cases come from six of the 28 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu. Some international health experts have said NACO has underestimated the number of HIV cases in India, Dow Jones reports (Dow Jones Newswires, 4/23). NACO last year reported 28,000 new HIV cases in India in 2004, compared with 520,000 new cases in 2003, a nearly 95% decrease. The data were collected using UNAIDS and World Health Organization recommendations, but some HIV/AIDS advocates in the country disputed the numbers because no nongovernmental organizations that work with HIV-positive people registered a corresponding drop in new demand for services (Kaiser Daily Women's HIV/AIDS Report, 7/12/05). Rao said that NACO plans to increase the number of HIV surveillance centers from 750 to 1,150 by next year, adding that a study estimating HIV/AIDS-related mortality is expected to be released by the Indian Council of Medical Research in two months (PTI/Sify, 4/23). "We feel that the next five years are very critical (for India) because once the epidemic gets into the general population, into rural areas, it would become very difficult to contain it," Rao said (Sharma, Associated Press, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.