The latest figures compiled by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), using better and an more improved data collection strategy, have shown that an estimated 5.21 million adults in India are living with HIV. This clearly indicates that the number of people infected by HIV/AIDS in India has increased.
Previously, in 2004 the figures complied had shown that India had 5.13 million people infected by the deadly virus. It is estimated 38% of females and 57% male adults living with HIV in India are of rural background.
The NACO is planning to increase the number of centres that assess the spread of HIV/Aids virus in the country. This was announced by said K Sujatha Rao, additional secretary and director general of NACO, at the end of a three-day national seminar in the capital yesterday. Stating that they are planning to add 400 sites to the already existing 750 sites, which they hope would create an accurate system to gauge the number of people affected by HIV/Aids, she said that according to the 2005 estimates there are around 5.1 million HIV/Aids affected people in the country.
She stated, explaining that as these were huge figures and if they do not work to control this spread in the next five years then they may not be able to control the situation ever. She said that around 90% estimated people do not even know that the virus affects them. To add to the problem, sometimes people do not come out in the open to address the problem and take medical help because of the stigma attached to HIV/Aids, she said.
The proposed additional centres will come up primarily in Bihar, UP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Orissa, MP and Jharkhand, considered to be highly vulnerable. Ms Rao added that Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Nagaland and Maharashtra are among the most affected states in the country. However, she was also happy to announce that Tamil Nadu has curtailed the spread of virus to a certain extent. She said that the trend in the state is going down but they would not like to believe that the problem is over.
However, she warned that the HIV prevalence among STD patients has increased substantially over the previous year in Delhi, Rajasthan and Orissa.HIV prevalence was greater than 1% among antenatal mothers in 95 districts including nine in the low prevalence states. HIV prevalence was greater than 10% in 34 STD sites across the country.