India: ‘HIV numbers have declined in last three years’

Due to mass awareness program run by government to prevent HIV in India, the HIV numbers have declined in the last three years, minister of health and family welfare replied to a question asked in the Lok Sabha. The minister also informed that the states of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have seen as the emergence of new hotspots of HIV

HIV threat intensifies as antiretroviral therapy becomes drug resistant

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts you at risk for serious infections and certain cancers.
  • HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. 
  • The first signs of HIV infection may be swollen glands and flu-like symptoms. These may come and go within two to four weeks. Severe symptoms may not appear until months or years later.
  • Estimated number of people living with HIV, given by minister, are 21,16,581 in 2015; 21,10,021 in 2016 and 21,06,706 in 2017. Maharashtra has seen highest number of cases. As on December 2017, there are around 2, 39, 014 people living with HIV in the state.

Dr Samiran Panda, of Pune-based National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), said, “The emergences of new hotspots in the north-east are because of Injecting Drug users and unsafe sexual practices. Though, the country has seen decline in the overall number of cases complacency should not set in.”

“Government’s program has been slowed down now. In the initial period it was awareness program and then started intervention program for high risk group. Though, new infections have increased, the number of people who have died because of HIV have gone up. HIV testing camps should be stopped. They lead to a very high degree of stigma and discrimination against those infected with HIV and their families,” said, Ishwarprasad Gilada, President of AIDS Society of India, Mumbai.