India Should Target HIV Prevention Efforts At High-Risk Groups

Armen Hareyan's picture
Advertisement

Indiashould focus its HIV prevention efforts at high-risk groups in light of recentdata that found the number of people estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS inthe country is half of previous estimates, Lalit Dandona and Rakhi Dandona ofthe Administrative Staff College of India wrote in a commentary published inthe Dec. 1 issue of the Lancet, ANI/Cheers News reports (ANI/Cheers News, 12/4).

Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss in July announced that the number ofpeople estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in the country is about 2.47million, or half of previous estimates, according to United Nations-backedgovernment estimates. The new estimate decreases India's HIV prevalence from 0.9% to0.36%, Ramadoss said. The new estimate was calculated with the assistance ofinternational agencies, such as the United Nations and USAID. Theearlier estimate was based on blood samples taken from pregnant women andhigh-risk groups, such as injection drug users and commercial sex workers. Thenew estimate was based on a population-based survey that took blood samplesfrom 102,000 people to determine HIV prevalence among the general population (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/5).

Advertisement

According to the authors, in light of the new estimate, India should target its HIVprevention efforts toward high-risk groups -- including commercial sex workers,injection drug users, mobile populations, people with other sexuallytransmitted infections and men who have sex with men. Other areas of focusshould include counseling, testing, blood transfusion safety and preventingmother-to-child transmission of the virus, the authors wrote.

They also said that it is vital for the public health approach to HIV controlin the country to become more scientific. "The establishment of a reliableestimate of HIV burden in India is only an initial step," the authorswrote, adding that what is "needed now is more scientific effort to understandthe dynamics of HIV spread in Indiaand the impact of interventions on HIV control" (ANI/Cheers News,12/4).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.

Advertisement