New HIV cases decline by half in India: UN report

New HIV cases decline by half in India: UN report

New HIV cases among adults have declined by half in India since 2000, according to a new UN report which praised India's contribution to AIDS response through manufacture of generic antiretroviral drugs.

Though rate of HIV transmission in Asia is slowing down, atleast 1,000 new infections among adults continue to be reported in the continent every day in 2011.

An estimated 3,60,000 adults were newly infected with HIV in Asia in 2011, considerably fewer than 4,40,000 estimated for 2001, a new UNAIDS report has said.

"This reflects slowing HIV incidence in the larger epidemics, with seven countries accounting for more than 90 per cent of people (in Asia) living with HIV - China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam," the report 'Together We Will End AIDS' said.

The UNAIDS lauded India for doing "particularly well" in halving the number of adults newly infected between 2000 and 2009 and said some smaller countries in Asia like Afghanistan and Philippines are experiencing increases in the number of people acquiring HIV infection.

It said a total 17 lakh people had died across the world due to AIDS related illness. In India, the figure for such deaths stood at 1.7 lakh in 2009.
The report says India has contributed enormously to the AIDS response.

"With 80 per cent of these drugs being generics purchased in India, several billion dollars have been saved over the past five years. The country is also committed to new forms of partnership with low-income countries through innovative support mechanisms and South–South cooperation," the UNAIDS report says.

It also points out that India already provides substantial support to neighbouring countries and other Asian countries - in 2011, it allocated USD 430 million to 68 projects in Bhutan across key socio-economic sectors, including health, education and capacity-building.

In 2011 at Addis Ababa, the Government of India further committed to accelerating technology transfer between its pharmaceutical sector and African manufacturers.

India has committed to pay more than 90 per cent of its national strategic plan for 2012–2017, compared with 10 per cent in 2009, the report said.

The UN body, however, pointed out that treatment coverage for HIV is low in Asia at 44 per cent. It said the number of people dying from AIDS-related causes has remained stable in Asia, where the number of people dying from AIDS-related causes in 2011 totaled an estimated 3,30,000, the largest number of deaths outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN body said Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are leading the way in assuming greater responsibility for their domestic HIV responses.

It pointed out that injecting drug use, unprotected sex between men and unprotected paid sex fuel the epidemics in this region and prevalence of HIV among these key populations at higher risk is high in many Asian countries.

"An estimated 16 per cent of people who inject drugs in Asia are living with HIV, but prevalence of HIV infection is much higher in some places. Between 8 per cent and 32 per cent of men who have sex with men are living with HIV in cities in China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand," it said.

The report said core prevention and treatment activities save lives and Antiretroviral therapy alone has added an estimated 14 million life-years among adults in low and middle income countries since 1995, with increasing gains as treatment coverage expands.

"Implementing a core package of HIV prevention and treatment activities, together with critical enablers, would prevent a cumulative 12.2 million people from acquiring HIV infection and 7.4 million people from dying from AIDS related causes between 2011 and 2020 and add a further 29.4 million life-years," it said.

The report also said a contribution of only 0.1 per cent of gross domestic product from Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa could add as much as USD 10 billion to global international assistance.

The United Nations report said around 2.5 million people became newly infected with HIV last year, taking the total to 34.2 million people globally living with the deadly virus.

While almost 1.7 million people dying of AIDS-related illnesses in 2011, more than 8 million people received antiretroviral therapy during the year, up from 6.6 million people in 2010, an increase of more than 20 per cent.

The report said this has put the international community on track to reach the goal of 15 million people receiving HIV treatment by 2015, as set out by the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS unanimously adopted by UN Member States.

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