India is expected to avert nearly three million HIV infections by 2015, according to a statement issued by the World Bank (WB) on Wednesday.
Stating that target intervention programmes among high-risk groups have had a significant impact in high-prevalence states including Maharashtra, the World Bank has released the findings of two studies conducted early this year.
“These studies and their findings have not been widely disseminated. The WB is using the opportunity of World AIDS day to share the learnings from India, globally,” said Mariam Laeson, World Bank regional coordinator in South Asia for HIV/AIDS.
About 20% of the HIV/Aids-hit patients in India live in Maharashtra, and prevalence in the state dropped from 1.08% in 2002 to 0.67% in 2007.
The ‘Impact evaluation study’ conducted in the high prevalence states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu links target intervention to decline in prevalence.
Another study, ‘Cost-effectiveness Analysis’, advocates target intervention as an effective strategy for India. Both studies have been conducted by independent researchers, and were published earlier in 2011.
The drop in prevalence is associated with a significant increase in consistent condom use. Among the women in districts with targeted interventions, HIV prevalence declined by more than 50% from 1.9% in 2001 to 0.8% in 2008. However, in districts that do not have targeted intervention projects, the infection rate has remained constant at 0.9 percent in both 2001 and 2008.
Since 1991, the World Bank has spent more than $640 million for India’s HIV response in collaboration with National AIDS Control Organisation.