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$7.4 mn Aussie aid to fight AIDS in NE

The Foreign Minister said the 5-year aid programme will primarily focus on India's NE states. Spl: Surviving AIDS

india Updated: Dec 01, 2005 12:21 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Australia's government marked World AIDS Day on Thursday by announcing a $7.4 million aid programme to help battle the deadly disease in India.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced the five-year aid programme, which will focus primarily on India's northeastern states.

"Australia will fund a new initiative with UNAIDS and the government of India to reduce the risk and impact of the virus in the northeastern states of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya," he said.

"This new initiative will target the most vulnerable to infection in the northeast: children, sex workers, drug users and their partners," he said.

"While building on the capacity of the State AIDS Control Societies, the project will also develop innovations in HIV education, prevention and care."

According to UN figures, India has the second highest number of HIV/AIDS-infections of any country in the world after South Africa.

An estimated 5.1 million Indians are infected with the disease, making the country home to around 60 per cent of the more than 8.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region, Downer said.

Australia has committed some $600 million to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Asia Pacific in the decade to 2010.

First Published: Dec 01, 2005 09:13 IST