Population Foundation of India, a Delhi-based NGO funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has said that a majority of the new AIDS cases in India are in Maharashtra.
"A true AIDS epidemic is not a future possibility for Maharashtra; it is a present reality", says a pamphlet released by the NGO. The state has seen 98,578 fresh cases since 2007, which make up over 23% of all new AIDS cases in India during the same time.
Some of the factors that have made Maharashtra a hub for HIV are lack of awareness, a large migrant population and a thriving sex trade. According to the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), rural areas like Latur, Jalgaon, Chandrapur and Sangli are also battling the disease.
Public health experts have opined that people can only fight the disease through increased awareness and using preventive measures.