HIV-AIDS Awareness Program
An estimated 2.5 million Indians are currently living with HIV. Concentrated in seven states with over 1% antenatal prevalence in four of the industrialized western and southern states of India (specifically Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu) and in the north-eastern states of Manipur and Nagaland, the epidemic is highly heterogeneous. Although data gathered by NACO in 2007 has revealed that HIV prevalence has stabilised in at least Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, it is increasing in at-risk populations in other states. As a result, overall HIV prevalence has continued to rise. A significant proportion of new infections is occurring in women who are married and who have been infected by husbands who either currently or in the past) frequented sex workers. Commercial sex (along with injecting drug use, in the cases of Nagaland and Tamil Nadu) serves as a major driver of the epidemic in most parts of India. Surveys in 2003 found 14% of commercial sex workers in Karnataka and 19% in Andhra Pradesh were infected with HIV. In Mysore, 26% of sex workers were HIV positive, according to a 2005 survey.
HIV in India – A fast spreading epidemic
- 1986: First case of HIV detected in Chennai
- 1990: HIV levels among High Risk Groups like Sex workers and STD clinic attendants in Maharashtra and amongst Injecting Drug Users in Manipur reaches over 5 percent.
- 1994: HIV no longer restricted to high risk groups in Maharashtra, but spreading into the general population. HIV also spreading to the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu where high risk groups have over 5 percent HIV prevalence.
- 1998: Rapid HIV spread in the four large southern states, not only in highrisk groups but also in the general population where it has reached over 1percent. Infection rate among antenatal women reaches 3.3 in Namakkal in Tamil Nadu and 5.3 in Churachandpur in Manipur. Among IDUs in Churachandpur it crosses 76 percent and in Mumbai, 64.4 per cent.
- 1999: The infection rate in antenatal women in Namakkal rises to 6.5. About 60 per cent of the sex workers in some Mumbai sites are infected. Infection rates among STD patients have reached up to 30 percent in Andhra Pradesh and 14-60 per cent in Maharashtra. About 64.4 percent IDUs at one of the sites in Mumbai and 68.4 percent in Chruachandpur are infected.
- 2001: Infection crosses one per cent in six states. These states account for 75 per cent of the country’s estimated HIV cases. The Prime Minister addresses the Chief Ministers of high prevalence states and urges them to intensify prevention activities.
- 2002: In year 2003 there has been an increase of about 6 lakh infections (4.58 million). This increase has been noticed primarily in states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. There is no significant increase in HIV infections in the country. India continues to be in the category of low prevalence countries with overall prevalence of less than 1 percent.
- Ministry of Human Resource Development (Dept. of Youth & Sports) involved in implementation of “Universities Talk AIDS” Programme of the National Service Scheme covering 158 universities, 5000 colleges and 2000 senior secondary schools.
- National Council of Education Research & Training (NCERT) involved in development of school curriculum package for integration of HIV/AIDS into school education (extra-curricular activities).
- A national consultation on the integration of HIV/AIDS into school education has been organized under the auspices of UNAIDS by UNESCO, UNFPA, and UNICEF with financial support from NACO and the active involvement of the Department of Education and five key states where these activities have been implemented. Follow-up is expected between NACO and the Department of Education with support from the UN System.
- Nehru Yuvak Kendra (NYK) involved in the implementation of non-formal educational approaches and rural outreach programmes on HIV/AIDS through its national volunteer network in communities in the country.
- The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has been of assistance through its Directorate of Audiovisual Publicity (DAVP), the Song & Drama Division, All India Radio and Doordarshan (national television service) in providing time and forums for the dissemination of public service programming and messages on HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
- Ministry of Railways undertook in 1994 a study of risk behaviors amongst its employees with assistance from UNDP. Survey results encouraged Ministry of Railways to design and approach NACO with INR 220 million proposal for response to HIV/AIDS in Railways sector; proposal currently under discussion with NACO.
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