`Increase in HIV cases in Gujarat`

Ahmedabad: Cases of HIV infection have been rising over the past two years in Gujarat, which is considered to be a low prevalence state, according to the National AIDS Control Organisation.

"Some low prevalence states (which include Gujarat) have shown a slight increase in the number of new infections over the past two years," NACO estimates said.

The HIV estimates by NACO said, "Of the 1.2 lakh estimated new infections in 2009, the six high prevalence states account for only 39 per cent of the cases, while Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat account for 41 percent of new infections."
A top official of state government`s health department attributed it to the migrant population that has been coming to Gujarat in search of work.

"We have come to know about the NACO data that said there was increase in HIV incidence in Gujarat and some other low prevalence states. This is bane of urbanisation where there is a huge migrant population," the official said on condition of anonymity.
The official said that his reference was to diamond industry and other industries in the state which employ migrant labourers.

"We need to study the figures released by NACO in
detail in order to ascertain the exact reason behind the
slight increase," he added.

However, Gujarat Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said
that the implementation of the HIV/AIDS prevention programme
has been paying good results.

"So far the situation is under control as the
government is engaged in conducting large-scale awareness
programmes among various high risk groups," Vyas said.

The estimates by NACO also said that number of people
with HIV infection in Gujarat would be above 1.36 lakh.

The analysis of data projections by NACO further
revealed that the number of new annual HIV infections has
declined in India by more than 50 per cent during last decade.

According to latest NACO estimates, Gujarat is also
among the five states having adult HIV prevalence more than
the national average of 0.31 per cent.

Manipur has shown highest estimated adult HIV
prevalence of 1.40 per cent, followed by Andhra Pradesh (0.90
per cent), Mizoram (0.81 per cent), Nagaland (0.78 per cent),
Karnataka (0.63 per cent) and Maharashtra (0.55 per cent).

While Gujarat (0.37 per cent), Goa (0.49 per cent),
Chandigarh (0.39 per cent), Punjab (0.32 per cent) and Tamil
Nadu (0.33 per cent) have shown estimated adult HIV prevalence
greater than national average.

A clear decline is also evident in HIV prevalence
among the young population (15-24 years) at national level,
both among men and women, the NACO estimates said.

The total number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA)
in India is estimated at 24 lakh in 2009.

The four high prevalence states of India (Andhra
Pradesh 5 lakh, Maharashtra 4.2 lakh, Karnataka 2.5
lakh, Tamil Nadu 1.5 lakh) account for 55 per cent of all
HIV infections in the country.

West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are
estimated to have more than one lakh PLHA each and together
account for another 22 per cent of HIV infections in India.

The NACO HIV estimates further said National AIDS
Control Programme (NACP)-III has yielded significant results
in addressing previously existing gaps in the AIDS response,
as well as the social and structural constraints.

There is a need, however, to build on the gains and
focus on the emerging areas of concern, it added.