New Delhi: India had around 2.14 million people living with HIV in 2017, accounting for 0.22% of people in the 15-49 years age group in the country, according to prevalence estimates released by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) on Friday.
The country saw around 87,580 new HIV infections and 69,110 AIDS related deaths in 2017. India has the world’s third largest population of people with HIV/AIDS after South Africa and Nigeria. However, the report highlights that there has been an 80% decline in estimated new HIV infections from the peak of 1995. Similarly, estimated AIDS-related deaths have declined by 71% since the peak of 2005.
This compares well with the global figures where the average for decline in new infections and AIDS related deaths from peaks has been 47% and 51%, respectively, according to a 2018 UNAIDS report.
The NACO report, HIV Estimations 2017, corroborates the information provided in the previous rounds about the characteristic of the HIV epidemic in India, where national prevalence and incidence remains low. But the figures are high in some geographical regions and among some population groups. The report has also noted that the rate of decline in annual new HIV infections has been relatively slow in recent years.
“At 2.04%, Mizoram had the highest adult HIV prevalence in the country, followed by Manipur at 1.43%, and Nagaland at 1.15%. Telangana at 0.70%, Andhra Pradesh 0.63%, Karnataka 0.47%, Goa 0.42%, Maharashtra 0.33%, and Delhi 0.30% were the other states/Union Territories with adult HIV prevalence higher than the national average,” the report said.
The report said that more than 22,675 mothers across the country needed antiretroviral therapy (ART) to prevent HIV being transmitted from mother to child.
“At present, with more than 1,300 surveillance sites, almost the entire country is covered under the HIV surveillance system. Epidemic monitoring systems are being augmented to enhance the insights into the level, trend and drivers of the HIV, in a move that is consistent with the emerging needs and country commitments towards achieving the end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,” said Alok Saxena, joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare.
The report is the 14th in the series of HIV Estimations under the National AIDS Control Programme. Naco undertakes HIV estimations biennially in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research—National Institute of Medical Statistics. The first estimation in India was done in 1998.