Seeking to put at rest the "controversy" over the number of HIV/AIDS patients in the country, the National AIDS Control Organisation today said its figures of 5.2 million patients was in consonance with the UNAIDS estimates for the 15-49 age group.
"NACO figures on HIV/AIDS patients are for the age group of 15-49 which is considered to be sexually active and more prone to the disease," Sujata Rao, Director-General, NACO told reporters here.
She said the UNAIDS figures for the 15-49 age group were same as NACO -- 5.2 million.
She said it would be wrong to compare NACO figures with the estimates of UNAIDS.
While NACO gave figures only for the particular age group, UNAIDS had used a number of assumptions to extrapolate the 15-49 age group data to arrive at a estimate for the entire population, Rao said a press conference which was attended by representatives of UNAIDS, WHO and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The UNAIDS estimates were being analysed by a panel of experts, she said.
UNAIDS country representative for India Dennis Broun said their attempt was to go beyond the 15-49 age group and arrive at the effect of HIV/AIDS on the overall population.
According to the UNAIDS estimates there are about 13 lakh HIV/AIDS patients in the 0-14 age group and 36 lakh people over 50 years of age are affected by the disease.
Rao said last year data from 750 sentinel sites across the country was used to generate information for estimation and 434 additional sites have been added this year to cover all geographical areas.