A new study published today in the open access journal BMC Medicine has found that the methods used to estimate the HIV infected numbers of people in India are flawed and the actual number of cases may be far lower. Lalit Dandona and his colleagues, who are from the Administrative Staff College of India, conducted the Study joining hands with the Researchers from Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad.
According to the study, the estimated figure was 2.5 times lower than official figures predicted in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. The state having the highest HIV prevalence in India is Andhra Pradesh.
Blood samples from 12,617 individuals who were representative of the population of Guntur were collected for this study. The samples included both men and women, in the age group of 15-49, from both urban and rural areas, and from all socio-economic groups, in Guntur and compared their results with the estimation of HIV burden for the district obtained using the official method based on sentinel surveillance in large public-sector hospitals.
The results showed that the HIV prevalence among adults was 1.72 percent, which increased slightly to 1.79 percent after adjusting for high-risk groups. This led to an estimate of 45,900 individuals with HIV in Guntur district, which is 2.5 times lower than the 112,600 estimate obtained with the official method.