03 July 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
The city’s AIDS control body, Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS), has collated figures for the last four years and concluded that the prevalence of the virus has come down from 10.65% in 2007 to 7.69% in 2010 (till May) among the general population. For pregnant women too, the decline has been from 0.91% to 0.58% during the same period.
Authorities attribute the decline to increased awareness among youth. "It is the combined effect of awareness and our targeted interventions. Our biggest victory has been to prevent new infections,’’ said project director of MDACS, Dr S S Kudalkar.
The MDACS studied the data from 74 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres in the city. He added the percentage of HIV–positive pregnant women in the city used to be about 1.4 till four years ago, which has now come down to 0.5. "Also, infection due to blood transfusions is down from 0.8% to about 0.4% in the same period,’’ he said.
The MDACS now hopes that the sentinel surveillance by the National AIDS Control Organisation, which begins in October, will give a thumbs up to Mumbai’s war against HIV.
MDACS has realised that taking Mumbai from category A to category B for HIV prevalence remains a daunting task. Category A is defined as any district where the number of pregnant women testing positive at ante–natal clinics in high risk areas is over 1% in the last three years. For Mumbai to be counted as category B, the number of pregnant women testing positive at these centres should be less than 1%. "Also, the city should have lesser number of hotspots like brothels,’’ said a civic official.
"It will be at least a decade for Mumbai to make it category B,’’ said the official.