`AIDS cases to rise with urbanisation, population density`

HIV/AIDS prevalence tends to be positively correlated with population density.

Updated: Apr 04, 2011, 16:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Claiming a strong correlation between HIV/AIDS and population density, a latest UN study predicts increased prevalence of the infection in fast-growing urban economies like India and China.

"There is strong evidence that HIV and AIDS prevalence tends to be positively correlated with population density, which will increase most in India and Vietnam," the study by
UNAIDS says.

It goes on to say that the urbanisation rate is expected to increase significantly in the selected countries.

This rate was 42 per cent, 35.8 per cent and 27.7 per cent in Indonesia, China and India respectively in 2000. By 2030, it is expected rise to 67.7 per cent and 41.5 per cent,

Even Vietnam will have 43.2 per cent if its population in urban areas by 2030, it said.

While the UN remarked that the dip in new infections in India was an "outstanding contribution" in the fight against the disease, it asked the country to do more in
containing transmission of HIV from mother to child, an area in which Malaysia and Thailand have done tremendously well among Asian countries.

"In the last decade, India has registered a 50 per cent reduction in the number of new infections. It is an outstanding contribution," Charles Gilks, Country Coordinator
(India) of UNAIDS, said.

According to the report, the number of new infections were 0.24 lakh (24,000) a year a decade ago while it is 0.12 lakh a year at present.

Every day, the report said, more than 7,000 people are newly infected by HIV, including 1,000 children. AIDS has claimed more than 2.5 crore lives globally and more than six
crore people have become infected with HIV in the past 30 years after the disease was detected.

The report noted that although global HIV incidence is now declining, many countries have failed to satisfy prevention commitments. As a result, it said, the epidemic
continues to outpace the response, with two people newly infected for every individual who started ART in 2009.

"With the number of people receiving ART increasing 13-fold from 2004 to 2009, the number of AIDS related deaths declined by 19 per cent during the same period. Still, the
epidemic continues to exact severe consequences. From 2005 to 2009, the number of children orphaned by AIDS increased from 1.46 crore to 1.66 crore," it said.

It said investments in the AIDS response were yielding results with new infections declining, treatment access expanding and world making significant strides in reducing HIV transmission from mother to child.

The report said "between 2001 and 2009, the rate of new HIV infections in 33 countries fell by at least 25 per cent. By the end of 2010, 60 lakh people were on antiretoviral
treatment. And for the first time, in 2009, global coverage of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV exceeded 50 per cent".

In 2009, it said, an estimated 3.33 crore were living with HIV, which is an increase of 27 per cent from 1999.

Globally, nearly 23 per cent of all people living with HIV are younger than 24 years and people belonging to 15-24 years accounted for 35 per cent of all people becoming newly

The world will not be able to "sharply" lower the rate of HIV transmission without paying attention to the prevention needs of key populations at higher risk of exposure, it said, adding that only 26 per cent of the countries had established prevention targets for sex workers, 30 per cent for people who use drugs and 18 per cent for men who have sex with men.

It said clinical trial results demonstrated that a vaginal microbicide could reduce a woman`s risk of becoming infected during sexual intercourse. "If confirmed, these
findings will help close a critical gap in the prevention toolkit, an effective prevention method that women may initiate on their own," it said.