Business Today Examines Impact of HIV/AIDS on India, Barriers to Prevention
India's Business Today in its June 4 edition examined the effect that HIV/AIDS has on the country and barriers to preventing the spread of the disease. The first case of HIV in India was diagnosed in 1986 in a sex worker in Chennai, Business Today reports. Since then, adult HIV prevalence in India has increased to 0.91%, according to Business Today. "India is where South Africa and Thailand were in the early '90s," Ashok Alexander -- director of Avahan the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's program to fight HIV/AIDS in India -- said, adding, "We are reaching an inflexion point." If HIV/AIDS prevalence continues to rise, India's economy "could suffer a severe setback," Business Today reports. In addition, as the disease spreads through the country, "the socio-economic consequences will be devastating," Business Today reports. According to UNAIDS, if HIV/AIDS continues to spread across the county, India might not reach the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of reducing the number of people living below the poverty line to 15% by 2015. Efforts to control the disease also are consuming funds, as the Indian government already has allocated $9 billion to the National AIDS Control Organization, money that could be used for education, infrastructure and health care, Business Today reports. However, HIV/AIDS has not received "the kind of attention and urgency it deserves" because it mostly affects poor people and people living in rural areas, according to Business Today. Stigma associated with the disease also hampers efforts to control its spread and family members often are the "worst culprits" in discriminating against and ostracizing HIV-positive people, Business Today reports. Lack of factual information, inaccurate statistics and a shortage of antiretroviral drugs also contribute to the spread of the disease in India (Dagar, Business Today, 6/4).
More information about HIV/AIDS in India is available online on GlobalHealthReporting.org