As Mumbai gears to observe World Aids Day on December 1, official data bring some cheer. The number of new Aids cases reported annually in the city has dropped 88.64% in the last five years: down to 595 till October 2011 from 5,240 cases reported in 2007.
Data with the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) also showed that the percentage of HIV positive cases fell from 10.56 of the Aids cases reported in 2007 to 5.84% till October in 2011. The number of deaths also came down from 233 in 2007 to 15 so far this year. “Our sustained awareness campaign has contributed to the dip in HIV incidence,” said Dr SS Kudalkar, project director of MDACS.
Even Maharashtra has seen a drop in Aids cases, with the percentage of those testing HIV positive down from 11.40% in 2007 to 3.67% this year.
According to doctors, the numbers are likely to drop further with the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) available at more centres and drugs getting cheaper. ART is a combination of drugs that improves the immunity of HIV infected people.