India rejects US report projecting 25 million AIDS cases
India has rejected a US intelligence agency report which projects that the country will have over 25 million people living with AIDS by 2010 even as an NGO charged that the report was aimed at exploiting Indian market for AIDS drugs and vaccines.
"We have in India around 4 million people living with HIV. This is true. It is however completely inaccurate to claim that India will have over 25 million people living with HIV/AIDS by 2010...We are surprised by the figures being freely cited," Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha said.
Sinha said that the prevalence of HIV nationally continued to be categorised as low. "There may be pockets of high infections - six states of India have a generalised epidemic. In these states, there are also a few districts where there is only about 2 per cent prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the general population."
Admitting that the rest of the country with low prevalence of HIV/AIDS has high vulnerability on account of low levels of awareness, high migration to high risk states for economic betterment, high levels of multi-partner sex/needle exchange and high incidence of untreated STDs, Sinha said the National AIDS Control Organisation was carefully targetting these aspects.
Sinha and the NGO, JACKINDIA, sought the details on which these estimates were based.
Drawing links between the CIA report and Bill Gates' visit to India, the NGO claimed the CIA report has been funded by Gates and the purpose was commercial exploitation of Indian people by creating markets for AIDS drugs and vaccines.