AIDS: Facts, Stats and Trends in India
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is a disease which is caused by HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In this condition, the immune system of the body is damaged.
Unfortunately, Aids does not have a cure at the moment but the available treatment options at the moment are effective in managing the disease to ensure slower progress and better quality of life.
We can better understand the Aids endemic in India by looking at some key facts, stats and trends about specific parameters.
Here are some key points regarding Aids:
Prevalence of Cases
The first known cases of AIDS in India was detected in 1986 in Chennai. This was followed by a rise in the number of cases in different parts of the country.
To battle the disease the government of India set up the National Aids Committee in 1986 followed by the National Aids Control Organization in 1992. The organization has been working tirelessly to fight the disease.
Today, India has an estimated 2.4 million cases of aids making it the country with the 3rd largest population of AIDs affected individuals.
New reported cases of aids to stand at 88000 per year. The prevalence of newer cases declined by more than 25% from the year 2010 which shows that the battle against the disease is progressing.
The Death Rate
The number of aids-related deaths stands at 69000 every year, a number which is still quite high. However, this too is a sign of progress. In the year 2010, the number of aids-related deaths was 169000. This is a massive decrease of more than 50%.
The country still has a long way to go when it comes to decreasing the total number of deaths caused by aids.
The Affected Population
Aids in India is significantly more prominent in certain sections of the population as compared to others. These can be differentiated as:
Prostitution and Sex Work
Sex workers are the most affected part of the population by aids. Sex work is not illegal in most parts of India which makes the number of sex workers high.
Aids is very common in sex workers with Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh reporting 7.4% and 6.3% sex workers to be affected by aids respectively.
This percentage is very high as compared to other parts of the population.
Homosexual individuals have a much higher chance of getting aids. Recent studies show that 2.7% of men who are sexually active with other men are affected by Aids.
This percentage gets higher in particular areas with studies going as high as 10% in Andhra Pradesh.
Transgenders are some of the most marginalised people among the Indian population with very limited access to healthcare services. It is estimated that 3.1% of transgenders suffer from aids.
Using Injectable Drugs
Aids can be spread through the use of common syringes, Credits: pxhere
Drug abuse by using injectable methods is very high in certain parts of India. This practice often involves using non sterilised syringes which are used by multiple people. This can transmit HIV from one individual to another.
Expert estimates suggest that 2.3% of people who abuse injectable drugs suffer from aids.
Awareness and Treatment
The treatment for aids is available for free in India, Credits: WikimediaCommons
When it comes to aids, awareness of the disease is very important. The overall awareness of the disease stands at 79% among Indians affected with aids.
There are various programmes which are run by the government and various other organizations to increase awareness among patients.
Targeted awareness programmes have raised the percentage of people who are aware of them being HIV positive has increased to 68% among transgenders.
In Indian various programmes are run which offer free antiretroviral treatment for patients suffering from aids. As of 2017 56% of people have been getting treatment. The number does seem less but is a massive rise from 36% in 2013. It is important to increase the number of people getting treatment for aids.
Government’s Intervention and Goal
12,600 red ribbon clubs run in India to increase aids awareness, Credits: Pexels
The goal of the government of India is to achieve 90-90-90. This refers to 90% of people suffering from aids are:
Aware of their diseases
The disease is retrovirally suppressed because of effective treatment.
In addition to ramping up awareness programs and providing free treatments, the government of India also focuses on prevention. The prevention is done in the following ways:
Free condoms: 86% of cases of aids in India are transmitted due to unprotected sex. To battle this, the government runs ad campaigns to promote the use of condoms and also provides free condoms in high-risk areas.
Mother to Child Transmission: In case a pregnant mother is suffering from aids then there is a treatment available to ensure that the foetus does not get aids. There is a program called Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission which began in 2002. Under this programme, 30000 sites are available where suppressive treatment is given to ensure that the child does not get aids.
The transmission of aids from mother to child can be prevented, Credits: pxfuel
Aids is still a major cause of concern in the country. In recent years, the aids situation has become better but there is still a long way to go. We can all be helpful in the fight against this pandemic in two ways. The first one is to ensure that we take protective measures so that we do not contract the disease. The second is to destigmatize this disease so that people who are suffering can get the treatment and help they need.