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'Global AIDS infection down, India played crucial role'

In 2011, 2.3 million got infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, making new infection the lowest ever in more than a decade. Sanchita Sharma reports.

columns Updated: Jul 19, 2012 01:17 IST
Sanchita Sharma
Sanchita Sharma
Hindustan Times

In 2011, 2.3 million got infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, making new infection the lowest ever in more than a decade.

UNAIDS has credited India with helping the world battle AIDS.

"India has contributed enormously to the AIDS response through its capacity to manufacture generic antiretroviral drugs in the private sector. With 80% of these drugs being generics purchased in India, several billion dollars have been saved over the past five years," says the UNAIDS Report 2012: Together we will end AIDS, released on Thursday morning.

Generic drugs from India resulted in the price of one year's supply of ART dropping from $10,000/person/year in 2000 to less than $100/person/year.

"India's the global pharmacy for the world that made it possible for 8 million people access ARTs. These drugs not only help people living with HIV to live healthier and longer, but also reduces the chances of their infecting their regular partners through unprotected sex by at least 96%, if not more," says Steve Kraus is director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok, Thailand.

There were 44.2 million people living with AIDS in 2011, marginally up from 33.5 million in 2010, because more people are alive because 8 million people are on antiretroviral therapy (ART is used to treat HIV) on Wednesday, compared to a few thousands a decade ago.

India has 2.7 million people living with HIV, with an adult prevalence of 0.31% of the general population.

India gives free ART to people with HIV, with the cost of the treatment being the cheapest in India.

The first-line treatment for people who've newly come on treatment costs the the government Rs. 5,000/person/year, while the second-line therapy -- for people with immunity against the first-line drugs - costs Rs. 29,000/person/year. Almost 30,000 people are on second-line treatment in India.

Globally, 8 million with HIV are being treated with ARTs, which has led to new HIV infections have fallen in 33 countries since 2001, mostly in Africa and Asia.


34.2 million people have HIV, up from 33.5 million in 2010.
Million new infections in 2011, down 20% from 3.2 million in 2001.
AIDS deaths fell to 1.8 million in 2011, from a peak of 2.3 million in 2005/06.
8 million people getting free AIDS treatment , up 20% in just one year from 7.4 million in 2010.
Infections in newborns fell to 330,000, the lowest ever, down from a peak of 570,000 in 2002/2003.
Infection grew in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, largely due to injecting drug use, and in the Middle East and North Africa.

Source: UNAIDS Report 2012: Together we will end AIDS

First Published: Jul 18, 2012 20:25 IST