Indian Finance Minister Says Country’s HIV Cases Are Underreported
India's Minister of Finance Palaniappan Chidambaram on Wednesday at an awards ceremony said that HIV cases are "underreported and underdetected" in the country, Reuters India reports. India recognizes that HIV/AIDS is a "serious problem," and the country is "not in a state of denial anymore," Chidambaram said.
According to some HIV/AIDS advocates, a lack of awareness about the disease and the stigma associated with being HIV-positive have caused many people to hide their HIV-positive status. Denis Broun, UNAIDS India coordinator, said it should be "taken into account" that some hospitals and families "do not report HIV cases because of social stigma." In addition, estimates from the National AIDS Control Organization on the number of HIV cases do not include cases among people younger than age 15 or older than age 49.
According to United Nations estimates, 5.7 million people in India are living with HIV/AIDS. NACO estimates the number to be 5.2 million, Reuters India reports (Reuters India, 5/23).