By , Rupali Mukherjee
Mumbai , India
Biggest Dip In K’taka At 12.7%, Least In Maha At 2.4%
An estimated 100,000 new HIV infections were averted over a period of five years in areas hit hardest by the epidemic by a national public health programme on AIDS prevention. The initiative, Avahan, reduced HIV prevalence in the general population by 12.7% in Karnataka — the highest in the country — and by 2.4% in Maharashtra — the lowest, at 13,000 cases, in the first phase of implementation.
Avahan was more effective in the heavily populated southern states, than in the remote northeastern states, says a study which will be published in the medical journal Lancet on Tuesday. The analysis, by the Public Health Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, indicates that HIV prevention programmes that target high–risk groups can reduce rates in the broader population.
India has an estimated 2.4 million people suffering with HIV, making it one of the largest infected populations in the world. The study says it cost about $2,500 to prevent one infection with this program, and that is quite cost–effective compared to the amount of care required to treat a patient with AIDS over a lifetime.
Speaking to TOI, the study’s lead author, Dr Marie Ng said, “We knew that those at highest risk for HIV would be the most likely to benefit, but we found that the programme had an even larger impact by preventing an estimated 100,000 new infections in the general population. This is very promising”.
Avahan was launched in 2003 with a $258–mn funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and came in addition to the government’s efforts on HIV prevention.SUCCESS STORY
- Avahan was most successful in Karnataka, reducing HIV prevalence by 12.7%
- In Maharashtra,it reduced prevalence by 2.4%, or 13,000 cases
- The study says it cost about $2,500 to prevent one infection with this programme
- India has an estimated 2.4 million people suffering with HIV