Posted: 11 July 2011 at 4:40pm | IP Logged
This article on Aids in India is very informative.http://www.avert.org/aidsindia.htm
India is one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, with over one billion inhabitants. Of this number, it's estimated that around 2.4 million people are currently living with HIV.1
HIV emerged later in India than it did in many other countries. Infection rates soared throughout the 1990s, and today the epidemic affects all sectors of Indian society, not just the groups – such as sex workers and truck drivers – with which it was originally associated.
In a country where poverty, illiteracy and poor health are rife, the spread of HIV presents a daunting challenge.
People living with HIV in India come from incredibly diverse cultures and backgrounds. The vast majority of infections occur through heterosexual sex (80%), and is concentrated among high risk groups including sex workers, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users as well as truck drivers and migrant workers. See our page on affected groups in India for more information.
Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), which can significantly delay the progression from HIV to AIDS – have been available in developed countries since 1996. Unfortunately, as in many resource-poor areas, access to this treatment is limited in India; an estimated 285,000 people were receiving free ARVs in 2009.69 This, totalled with the number receiving ARVs through the private sector, amounted to 320,000 people receiving ARVs in 2009. According to NACO, this represents just over half of the adults estimated to be in need of antiretroviral treatment in India. However, according to WHO's latest treatment guidelines (2010), which recommend starting treatment earlier, revised estimates may indicate that only around 1 in 4 people in need of HIV treatment are currently receiving it.70
While the coverage of treatment remains unacceptably low, improvements are being made. The government has started to expand access to ARVs in a number of areas; by November 2009 there were 266 reported sites providing antiretroviral therapy.71
Increasing access to ARVs also means that an increasing number of people living with HIV in India are developing drug resistance. When HIV becomes resistant to the ARVs the treatment regimen needs to be changed to 'second-line' ARVs. As with many other parts of the world, second-line treatment in India is far more expensive than first-line treatment.
In 2008, NACO began to roll out government funded second-line antiretroviral treatment in two centres in Mumbai and Chennai. However coverage remains limited; of the 3,000 who needed to be on second line treatment, about 970 were receiving it as of January 2010.72 73 One reason for this is expense; second line ARV drugs, unlike first line ARVs, are not produced on a large scale in India due to patent issues that control drug pricing. Therefore, they can be 10 times more expensive than first line ARVs.
Ironically, India is a major provider of cheap generic copies of ARVs to countries all over the world. However, the large scale of India's epidemic, the diversity of its spread, and the country's lack of finances and resources continue to present barriers to India's antitretroviral treatment programme. The Indian government has also been criticised for not providing palliative care for HIV patients.74
To read about the challenges faced in increasing access to antiretroviral drugs around the world, see our Universal access to AIDS treatment page.
(Above is only an extract, study gives the full history and present status by regions)