With the covid-19 pandemic having halted the progress of several public health programmes, a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned that India may miss the national target to end AIDS by 2030.
- India, the second most populated country in the world, is home to an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV (PLHIV), the third highest population globally after South Africa and Nigeria.
- National Health Policy 2017, promises to “achieve the global target of 90:90:90 for HIV/AIDS by 2020, that is, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90 per cent of those receiving ART will have viral suppression.
- Governments of over 190 nations, including India, have promised to end AIDS by 2030 by adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The study is done by the ICMR-National Institute of Medical Statistics, Division of Strategic information – Surveillance and Epidemiology, and the National AIDS Control Organization under the ministry of health and family welfare.
- Slow decline: The decline in annual new HIV infections was only 27% from 2010 to 2017 against a national target of a 75?cline by 2020.
- The national adult prevalence of HIV was estimated to be 0.22% in 2017. Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland had the highest prevalence of over 1%.
- People living with HIV: An estimated 2.1 million people were living with the AIDS virus, HIV, in 2017.
- The states with the highest number of people living with HIV in 2017 were Maharashtra (0.33 million), Andhra Pradesh (0.27 million) and Karnataka (0.24 million). Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had between 0.2 and 0.1 million such patients.
- 15 states accounted for 87% of the total population of HIV-infected persons in 2017.
- New HIV infections are rising in the low-burden states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand in 2017 compared with 2010.
- HIV incidence was found to be higher among key population groups, especially people who inject drugs.
- The annual AIDS-related deaths were estimated to be 69,000 nationally.
- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV is another critical target to be achieved by 2020.
- Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana had relatively higher PMTCT need. However, treatment coverage was still significantly lower than the national average.
- As of 2016, 67 per cent of PLHIV (21 lakh) know their status. We have not reached out to the 33 per cent in the PLHIV category, and less than 50 per cent are on ART, despite WHO and NACO guidelines to “test and treat all”.
The study calls for reinforcement of HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment efforts by geographical regions and population groups.