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HIV infections drop by 56 per cent: NACO

Bangalore, Nov 23, 2012, DHNS : 23:52 IST
The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) on Friday revealed that the number of fresh HIV cases in the country had dropped by 56 per cent.

Dr B B Rewari, national programme officer, NACO, told media persons at the fifth National Conference of Aids Society of India, that there were 2.39 million people living with HIV in the country and the prevalence rate stood at 0.31 per cent. The percentage is expected to drop further.

“NACO tested over 16 million people in India, including 6.5 million pregnant women, of whom 1,27,000 persons tested positive for HIV infection in the last 10 years,” he said.
More than 5,200 HIV-positive patients the country, including 250 in Karnataka, are being administered the second line of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), he said.

Rewari made a presentation on the new ART guidelines for Prevention of Parent-To-Child Transmission and changes in certain testing methods and drug administration.

The budget of the current National AIDS Control Programme - NACP(III) - is Rs 8,023 crore. The programme has been a game changer, endeavouring to halt and reverse the progression of the epidemic.

The focus now is on prevention of HIV, especially among female sex workers, men having sex with men (MSM), intravenous drug abusers, truck drivers and migrants, he said.

Dr Sunil Solomon, Assistant Professor, John Hopkin’s University of Medicine, USA, spoke on the incidence of HIV among homosexual men. MSM is a sexual behaviour rather than a classification.

People who practise this form of sex in India comprise 3-26 per cent of patients who are receiving treatment, he said. The phenomenon is prevalent in rural regions, too.

Dr S N Mothi, a paediatrician from Mysore who works closely with Asha Kirana Hospital, made a presentation on HIV infection among children.

He said 1,15,000 boys and girls in the country were among the nearly 3.3 million HIV-infected children in the world.

There are more than five lakh children involved in sex trade in India, he revealed. About 40 per cent of child brides are from India, and Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka top the list.

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