11M People in India Could Die of AIDS-Related Illnesses by 2026, Report Says
The office of India's Registrar General and Census Commissioner on Wednesday released a report that says about 11 million people in India could die of AIDS-related illnesses by 2026, the Times of India reports. The report, based on demographic trends, also says that an additional five million children who might not be born as a result of the early deaths of HIV-positive women could be "missing" from the country's population. The 11 million projected deaths because of AIDS-related illnesses and five million missing children could lower the estimate of India's projected population in 2026 from 1.400 billion to 1.384 billion, a difference of 1.2%, the Times reports (Times of India, 8/9).
Indian officials and ministers attending a national meeting of mayors and district council chiefs on Tuesday called on leaders in rural areas to join a nationwide campaign against HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports (Zaheer, Reuters, 8/8). According to officials, poverty, migration and limited access to health care make rural areas in India more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Nearly 60% of the country's HIV-positive people live in villages, BBC News reports. The campaign, which was launched in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is sponsored by the Indian government and UNAIDS. It encourages local leaders to introduce HIV/AIDS education in schools and make condoms more accessible and trains leaders to help HIV-positive women, according to Sujatha Rao, head of India's National AIDS Control Organization (BBC News, 8/8). "This is a very good idea. If local leaders talk about AIDS or even mention it at public meetings it helps," Anjali Gopalan, executive director of the Naz Foundation India, said (Reuters, 8/8). "AIDS is a disease of intimacy and has a lot to do with things that are personal, such as sex and death," UNAIDS country director for India Denis Broun said at the national meeting, adding, "The local-level bodies are the closest to the people, hence their cooperation is very important" (BBC News, 8/8).