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HIV incidence in India on the downward trend

According to the joint study conducted by India and Canada which was carried out by the University of Toronto and an Indian research institute reported// a decrease in the HIV prevalence. The data revealed that women aged 15 to 24 years suffering from HIV in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had fallen from 1.7% to 1.1 % in a four-year period. This tread is mainly seen in the four south Indian states.

The four states account for 75 % of people living with HIV in India. Previously it was stated that India accounted for about 5.1 million people suffering from AIDS. India has the world's second-highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS next to South Africa. Active surveillance and robust peer intervention among high risk groups such as female sex workers had an impact in the south. New infections fell by 35 % from 2000-2004. Dr. Prabhat Jha of the Centre for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto said at a news conference that the decline in the rates of HIV is welcoming news. All this is possible because India has been pushing condom use as key to its anti-AIDS strategy, along with loyalty to one's spouse.

The study said the fall in new infections was seen across the rural-urban divide as well as among the literate and illiterate. Dr. Rajesh Kumar, the main author of the study, said that the new HIV infections had plunged to 28,000 in 2004 from 520,000 in 2003, sparking disbelief among health experts. But gaps remained in HIV surveillance in north India, states like Uttar Pradesh and impoverished Bihar. The northern states are much more of a challenge as there are fewer HIV surveillance sites.


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