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Home / News / India /  India likely to miss target of eradicating AIDS by 2030: ICMR study

NEW DELHI : With the covid-19 pandemic having halted the progress of several public health programmes, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned that India may miss the national target to end AIDS by 2030.

That target would be difficult to achieve as the decline in annual new HIV infections was only 27% from 2010 to 2017 against a national target of a 75% decline by 2020.

The warning comes in a study by the ICMR-National Institute of Medical Statistics, Division of Strategic information - Surveillance and Epidemiology, and the National AIDS Control Organization under the ministry of health and family welfare.

As per the study published in the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Research, the national adult prevalence of HIV was estimated to be 0.22% in 2017. Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland had the highest prevalence of over 1%.

The study found an estimated 2.1 million people were living with the AIDS virus, HIV, in 2017, with Maharashtra estimated to have the highest number. Of the 88,000 annual new HIV infections nationally in 2017, Telangana accounted for the largest share.

“HIV incidence was found to be higher among key population groups, especially people who inject drugs. The annual AIDS-related deaths were estimated to be 69,000 nationally," the study said. “...At the sub-national level some states have made better progress to reduce new HIV infection. It calls for reinforcement of HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment efforts by geographical regions and population groups."

The states with the highest number of people living with HIV in 2017 were Maharashtra (0.33 million), Andhra Pradesh (0.27 million) and Karnataka (0.24 million). Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had between 0.2 and 0.1 million such patients.

The study highlighted that prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV is another critical target to be achieved by 2020. Of the 22,677 such cases in India, 58.2% were on treatment as of December 2018. Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana had relatively higher PMTCT need. However, treatment coverage was still significantly lower than the national average.

The study highlighted that 15 states accounted for 87% of the total population of HIV-infected persons in 2017. There were signs of rising new HIV infections in the low-burden states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand in 2017 compared with 2010, the study pointed out.

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