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New Estimates: Good News

However, as a pleasant news the NACO alongwith UNAIDS and WHO released a report in the month of July'07 that the previous estimates and projections were wrong due to improper research that has been carrying on for such a long time.

The Indian National AIDS Control (NACO) Organization, with support from national and international experts including UNAIDS and WHO, have used new and improved data and enhanced methodology to produce revised AIDS estimates for India.

The revised estimates show that in 2006, some 2.5 million people were living with the virus and that HIV prevalence among adults was around 0.36%.

The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss said with the revised figure of 2.5 million, India now stands at number three in the world for its HIV/AIDS population. While South Africa reports the maximum number of people infected with HIV/AIDS globally, Nigeria comes second.

He said if the methodology used this year is implemented for the previous years, there is only a marginal reduction in the prevalence. "Moreover, in terms of human lives affected, the numbers are still large and worrying," he added.

He said the estimates this year were based on two important data's - the sentinel surveillance, which was expanded to 1,122 sites from last year’s 703 sites, and the National Family Health Survey -3, a population based survey.

Whatever the truth about the figures, it is clear that HIV/AIDS will have a devastating effect on India in the future.

Minister Dr. Ramadoss said, “We have always been faulted for underestimating the seriousness of the epidemic. That was a disturbing allegation as we were, and continue to be, very committed to containing and reversing the HIV AIDS epidemic.” He, however, warned that the two sets of figures cannot be compared to show that there has been a steep decline. “These figures are not comparable. By using the same methodology for the past years that we used this year, there is only a marginal reduction in the prevalence,” he clarified.

On the whole this is a welcoming news about the figures falling down by 50% as the burden is not so much as it seemed earlier. However, the intensity of striving for reduction in the number of infected cases should continue to be the same so that one day India would become the least infected country in the world.

For further information as to why the estimates were shown as very high and how India claims the new estimates are low, please click the following link for the information released from UNAIDS.