HIV infections in India drop by 57 percent: UN report

United Nations: The rate of new HIV infections in India has dropped by an encouraging 57 per cent over the last decade thanks to increased domestic spending towards the AIDS response.

According to a new UN report, incidence of new HIV infections has fallen by half across 25 countries.

Between 2001 and 2011, the rate of new HIV infections in India dropped by 57 per cent as the country scaled up services, the UNAIDS World Aids Day report 2012 said.

Four countries that account for a large number of people living with HIV in the region? India, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Thailand? reduced new HIV infections by more than 50 per cent.

"Exceptional leadership is coming from the world`s fastest-growing emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). Together, they contribute to more than half of all domestic spending on AIDS in low and middle-income countries. Their momentum is unparalleled, having increased domestic public spending by more than 122 per cent between 2006 and 2011," the report said.

China currently invests more than 80 per cent domestically, and the country has announced it will fully fund its AIDS response in the coming years.

India has committed to increase domestic funding to more than 90 per cent in its next phase of the AIDS response.

"These fast growing economies have the potential to support others in the region, as well as exert leadership and influence on the AIDS response, both locally and globally," the report added

The report said there were more than half a million fever deaths in 2011 than in 2005, with the largest drops in AIDS-related deaths being seen in countries where HIV has the strongest grip? South Africa saw 100,000 fewer deaths, Zimbabwe nearly 90,000, Kenya 71,000 and Ethiopia 48,000 less than in 2005.

Of the 34 million people living with HIV, about half do not know their HIV status.

The report states that if more people knew their status, they could come forward for HIV services.

Despite encouraging progress in stopping new HIV infections, the total number of new HIV infections remains high at 2.5 million in 2011.

The report outlines that to reduce new HIV infections globally, combination HIV prevention services need to be brought to scale.

"UNAIDS will focus on supporting countries to accelerate access to HIV testing and treatment. Now that we know that rapid and massive scale up is possible, we need to do more to reach key populations with crucial HIV services," Sidibe said.


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