Okay, Its official, India does not have the highest cases of HIV / AIDS in the world.Â I had blogged about this last month when the study was not yet completed, however, it was clear at that time that the numbers were distorted. The process of gathering data on HIV / AIDS were faulty till now.
The HIV / AIDS cases in India currently stand at 2.5 million, less than half of 5.7 million cases as estimated by earlier reports.That is roughly 2 out of every 1000 people – which is still very high – but much better than being 5 in 1000 :)
Here is an excerpt from the article that appeared in Washington Post:
India has roughly 2.5 million people infected with HIV, less than half the number of cases that previous studies estimated, the health minister and international AIDS experts said Friday.
The drastically reduced numbers come from expanded surveys and an improved methodology, providing a far more accurate portrait of India’s HIV epidemic, said Health Minister Anubani Ramadoss.
An earlier U.N. study estimated 5.7 million HIV cases, which would have been the highest total in the world. According to the new data, India, which has a population of 1.1 billion, has fewer HIV cases than South Africa and Nigeria.
What is also encouraging is that government has also aggressively taken steps to ensure that this epidemic is within control with its aggressive print, audio and video campaigns.
While the new HIV estimates were due to statistical breakthroughs more than medical ones, Ramadoss said that India’s HIV-infection rate showed cause for optimism with a decline from about .38 percent of the population in 2002 to about .36 percent now.
Most encouragingly, HIV rates in southern states, where the disease was most prevalent, have stabilized or begun to decline, Ramadoss said, crediting targeted interventions and education outreach programs.
I think AIDS / HIV reduction is one of very few things that India have done right and they deserves Kudos from Indian people.
Else Where (opens in new window): BBC South Asia , New Kerala , Reuters