About 2.5 Million People In India Living With HIV

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National adult HIV prevalence in India is approximately 0.36%, which corresponds to an estimated 2 million to 3.1 million people living with HIV in the country.

These estimates are more accurate than those of previous years, as they are based on an expanded surveillance system and a revised and enhanced methodology.

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As part of its continuing effort to know its epidemic better, the Indian Government has greatly expanded and improved its surveillance system in recent years and increased the number of population groups covered. In 2006, the government created 400 new sentinel surveillance sites and facilitated National Family Health Survey-3, which is a population-based survey.

Launching the third phase of the National Programme, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare said, "Revision of estimates based on more data and improved methodology marks a significant improvement in systems and capabilities to monitor the spread of HIV, a sign of the progress we have made in understanding the epidemic better. This is welcome progress. Unfortunately, the new figures still point towards a serious epidemic with potential to expand if the prevention efforts identified in the NACP III are not scaled up rapidly and implemented in the desired manner. We must remember that India has nearly 3 million people living with HIV. These are people facing stigma, discrimination and irrational prejudice everyday of their lives and need all our support and understanding." The Minister called upon his colleagues in the medical profession and civil society organizations to fight stigma and discrimination.

Resulting from a more robust and enhanced methodology, the revised estimates will be used to improve planning for prevention, care and treatment efforts. "While it is good news that the total number of HIV infections is lower than previously thought, we cannot be complacent. The steady and slow spread of the HIV infection is a worrying factor. The better understanding of India

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