India records 57% drop in new HIV cases and Bill and Melinda Gates deserve at least some of the credit

New Delhi: India has recorded a 57 percent drop in number of new HIV infections during the last decade, say latest figures from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

India has demonstrated an overall reduction of 57 percent in estimated annual new HIV infections (among adult population) from 2.74 lakh in 2000 to 1.16 lakh in 2011, said a NACO report released Friday.

“Major contribution to this reduction comes from the high prevalence states where a reduction of 76 percent has been noted during the same period. However, rising trends of new infections are noted in the some of the low prevalence states,” the report said.

Bill and Melinda Gates deserve at least some of the credit

About 100,000 people in India may have escaped HIV infection over five years because of a scheme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a study by the Lancet suggests.

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The Avahan project was launched in 2003 in six states which had the highest rate of HIV in India at the time.

The aim was to invest in HIV prevention by targeting high-risk groups such as sex workers and truck drivers.

The Lancet study said it showed such an investment can reduce HIV prevalence.

Safe-sex counselling

The initial findings of the study had some data limitations, AFP reports, but the study’s authors make it clear that investing in prevention can have a positive impact.

“The results of our analysis suggest that Avahan had a beneficial effect in reducing HIV prevalence at the population level over five years of programme implementation in some of the states,” the assessment said.


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