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Factfile on HIV/AIDS in India


NEW DELHI, Feb 2 (AFP) - Here is a factfile on HIV/AIDS in India:

- India has the second largest number of HIV infections, behind South Africa, at five million people, or one in every eight of the almost 40 million infected worldwide.

- New Delhi says the national prevalence for HIV infection is 0.9 percent of adults with some districts, such as Belgaum in north Karnataka state, with a population as big as Ireland, showing 4.5 percent of the adult population infected.

- Some agencies providing help in highly-affected areas of India say the ture rate of infection could be five to eight percent in particularly poor districts. Five percent is considered a tipping point for exponential growth.

- The epidemic is driven by commercial sex workers in four hard-hit states in southern India -- Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

- Intravenous drug use is driving a rise in HIV infections in two northeastern states along the border with Myanmar -- Manipur and Nagaland.

- While infection rates are growing nationally, the epidemic is still largely concentrated among high risk behavior groups, including sex workers, who are among the poorest and most vulnerable in India, as well as truckers who travel nationwide.

- If HIV prevention programs aren't successful, a spiraling epidemic could destabilize governments, derail economic progress and overwhelm an already fragile health system, warns the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation HIV/AIDs initiative in India.

- Resources to cut the HIV infection rate in India are among the lowest per capita worldwide -- at 146 million dollars annually including the government, international donor and charities -- slightly less than 29 cents each for India's one-billion-plus population.

- Successful HIV infection prevention programs in other countries cost more: Thailand spends 55 cents per person for example and Uganda spends one dollar eighty-five cents per person.

- The main causes of rising HIV infection rates in India include unprotected sex with multiple partners; a flourishing commercial sex work trade; lack of condoms; high rates of untreated sexually transmitted infections; and the inability of women to negotiate condom use.

- Women are particularly vulnerable because of unequal treatment under the law and exposure to high levels of violence from men. Many women are driven to sell sex by drought, poverty or illness in their families.

Sources: UNAIDS; WHO; 2004 International AIDS Conference; UN Population Fund, Avahan, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation HIV/AIDs initiative in India.


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Information in this article was accurate in February 2, 2005. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.