India Reduces Rate of HIV Transmission in Some States, UNAIDS Report Says
India has managed to reduce the rate of HIV transmission in some states through increased awareness, resources and legislation, according to a report released Monday by India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Reuters reports.
According to the report, titled "Redefining AIDS in Asia: Crafting an Effective Response," about 440,000 people die annually of AIDS-related causes in Asia, and the rate is expected to rise to about 500,000 by 2020 if measures are not taken (Majumdar, Reuters, 6/30). The report -- conducted by a UNAIDS-supported independent group called the Commission of AIDS on Asia and the Pacific -- noted that $3.1 billion annually would be required to effectively respond to the epidemic on the continent, United News of India reports.
According to the report, India accounts for about half of the estimated five million HIV-positive people in Asia (United News of India, 6/30). The report warned that India must be extremely cautious because many people are still unaware about the benefits of condom use in preventing HIV transmission, especially among injection drug users and women in rural parts of the country. India's efforts are garnering positive results in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in the west, according to the report.
Denis Broun, head of UNAIDS in India, said the country "has managed to slow down the epidemic in some states with more decisive planning." He added, "We have really worked a lot in mobilizing politicians and they have been able to visit around the country and understand the realities of AIDS and interact with people." Broun said that new HIV diagnoses are "dropping in Tamil Nadu and it has been successful in Maharashtra," and "[w]e are sure we are going to see success in Andhra Pradesh before a year" (Reuters, 6/30).
A transcript of a speech by Singh announcing the release of the report is available online.