United Nations: India has the third highest number of people living with HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS) in the world with 2.1 million Indians accounting for about four out of 10 people infected with the deadly virus in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a UN report.

The report by UNAIDS, the United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS, said that 19 million of the 35 million people living with the virus globally do not know their HIV-positive status and so ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 will require a smart scale-up to close the gap.

The first-ever UNAIDS “Gap Report" said that, after sub-Saharan Africa, the Asia-Pacific region has the largest number of people living with HIV. At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 4.8 million people living with HIV across the region.

Six countries—China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam—account for more than 90% of the people living with HIV in the region.

The report said HIV treatment coverage is only 36% in India, where 51% of AIDS-related deaths occur. It added that new HIV infections declined by 8% in South and South-East Asia, and by 16% in the Pacific region, between 2005 and 2013.

In India, the numbers of new HIV infections declined by 19%, yet it still accounted for 38% of all new HIV infections in the region. About 64% of people in India don’t have access to antiretroviral therapy treatment.

In Asia and the Pacific, the number of AIDS-related deaths fell by 37% between 2005 and 2013, the report said. India recorded a 38% decline in AIDS-related deaths in the same period.

There was a major scale up of access to HIV treatment during this period, the report said.

At the end of 2013, more than 700,000 people were on antiretroviral therapy, the second largest number of people on treatment in any single country.

In India, HIV prevalence among female sex workers dropped from 10.3% to 2.7% but increased in the states of Assam, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, the report said. The estimated population of sex workers is 868,000, of which 2.8% is HIV-positive.

In India, HIV prevalence among women who inject drugs was nearly twice that or more than the figures for their male counterparts, the report said. PTI

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