Indian Health Ministry Proposes Fivefold Increase in Funding for HIV/AIDS Programs
India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed a more than fivefold increase in funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the country, the Hindustan Times reports. The proposed $2.6 billion in funding would be administered by the National AIDS Control Organization under the third phase of the country's National AIDS Control Program, which is scheduled to launch on April 1. It would be allocated over the next five years for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment. About $466 million was allocated to the second phase of the National AIDS Control Program, according to the Times. About three-fourths of the program's third phase will be funded by the World Bank, and an unnamed NACO official said that the U.N. Development Programme, UNAIDS, the International Labour Organization, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, USAID and the World Food Programme also will provide support. About one-third of the $2.6 billion in proposed funding would be allocated for HIV/AIDS care, treatment and support, while the remaining funds would be allocated for awareness about the disease. Some HIV/AIDS advocates said that although they welcome the increase in funding for HIV/AIDS awareness, the funding allocated for HIV/AIDS treatment is inadequate. "A lot remains to be done for the care and treatment of HIV-positive people," Nivedita Dasgupta, director of the Modicare Foundation, said. Another unnamed NACO official said that there is "sufficient awareness" about HIV/AIDS in certain states with high HIV prevalence and that India's HIV/AIDS efforts should "focus on the needs of those who have already contracted the disease in such areas." The HIV/AIDS control program's third phase will focus on six states with high HIV prevalence -- Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Manipur and Nagaland -- although district level allocations will be modified to ensure that other states receive adequate funding. The funding increase for the control program's third phase also will be supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups, according to the Times (Shrivastava, Hindustan Times, 1/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.