22 November 2011
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi India
New HIV infections fell by 56% between 2006–2010 in India. The government says it has overshot treatment targets for 2012 — with 4.48 lakh HIV positive patients on the lifesaving antiretroviral therapy against the target of 3.4 lakh.
However, the UNAIDS HIV AIDS report 2011 released on Monday said 20–40% of the eligible HIV population in India was actually receiving ART— one of the lowest in the world. It added that less than 40% of pregnant women had access to ART to prevent new HIV infections among children.
“In India, 40% people don’t even know their HIV status. So how can we put them on treatment? UNAIDS estimates include these 40%. In fact, against a target of putting 3.4 lakh HIV positive people on ART by end of 2012, we expect to cross the 5 lakh mark by that time,”a health ministry official said.
According to new estimates, 47% (6.6 million) of the estimated 14.2 million people eligible for treatment in low– and middle–income countries were accessing lifesaving ART in 2010, up 1.35 million since 2009. 2010 saw 2.7 million new HIV infections and 1.8 million people died of AIDS–related illnesses. Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, said, “We’ve seen a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment which has had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere.”
The report said new HIV infections significantly dropped in most of the world. In south and south–east Asia it dropped by over 40% between 2006 and 2010.
In India, new HIV infections fell tremendously but it continued to rise in eastern Europe and central Asia, West Asia and North Africa.India not to allow HIV home testing
New Delhi: India will not allow home testing for HIV. The country’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) is against allowing finger pricks or mouth swabs to be used by individuals to know their HIV status. A variety of tests are now available which can produce results in 1–20 minutes. These these don’t cost much. However, NACO says its policy is clear— testing will have to accompany pre–testing and post–result counselling. “Self–testing is against Indian national treatment guidelines,”a NACO official said.