New Delhi Records Increasing Number Of AIDS Cases

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Although India recently reduced its HIV/AIDS caseload estimate, thenumber of AIDS cases in New Delhi has been increasing since 2000,according to a recent Ministry of Health and Family Welfare report, the IANS/Economic Times reports (IANS/Economic Times,9/2). Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss in July announced thatthe number of people estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in thecountry is about 2.47 million, or half of previous estimates, accordingto United Nations-backed government estimates. The new estimatedecreases India's HIV prevalence from 0.9% to 0.36%, Ramadoss said. Thenew estimate was calculated with the assistance of internationalagencies, such as the United Nations and USAID.The earlier estimate was based on blood samples taken from pregnantwomen and high-risk groups, such as injection drug users and commercialsex workers. The new estimate was based on a population-based surveythat took blood samples from 102,000 people to determine HIV prevalenceamong the general population (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/6).

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Accordingto the report, the number of recorded AIDS cases in New Delhi hasincreased from 498 in 2000 to 5,082 in 2007. In addition, the cityrecorded 743 new AIDS cases and 97 AIDS-related deaths between Januaryand June, the report said. According to a health ministry official,there are two potential reasons for the increasing number of AIDS casesin New Delhi: the city's mobile population and its antiretroviraltreatment program. In addition, the large number of vulnerable groupsin the city is contributing to the situation, according to MaheshGanesan, a doctor who works with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation."It's a myth that a large population in Delhi is aware of AIDS,"Ganesan said, adding, "Industrial workers and youth remain the mainvulnerable sections. Higher prevalence of premarital sex, sometimes inadolescence, also contributes to the numbers."

The nationalministry of health recently launched the third phase of India'sNational AIDS Control Program, which aims to stop and reverse thespread of HIV during the next five years. In reaction to the NACPlaunch, New Delhi's AIDS Control Societyhas designed a program to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, according to astate health ministry official. The official added that railwaystations, public transportation terminals and shopping areas will bethe focus of the program, which involves radio and printadvertisements, posters, banners and panel meetings (IANS/Economic Times, 9/2).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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