India witnesses 56 per cent drop in new HIV cases: UNAIDS

Geneva, Nov 21: India, which has one of the highest populations of HIV-infected people in Asia, has witnessed a decline in new infections by a significant 56% from the epidemic's peak in 1996, with other Asian countries also showing a plunge.

According to the UNAIDS World Aids Day report 2011, the number of new HIV infections has been falling significantly in Asia, with India leading the pack.

It said new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 21% from the peak of the epidemic around world.

The number of people dying of AIDS-related causes fell to 1.8 million in 2010, down from a peak of 2.2 million in the mid-2000s, while a total of 2.5 million deaths have been averted in low- and middle-income countries since 1995 due to antiretroviral therapy being introduced.

"In South and South-East Asia, the estimated 270,000 new HIV infections in 2010 was 40 per cent less than at the epidemic's peak in 1996," said the report.

"In India, the country with the largest number of people living with HIV in the region, new HIV infections fell by 56 per cent," it added.

Releasing the report here, executive director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe said the results are satisfactory, but stressed that shared responsibility is needed to combat the epidemic more effectively.

"Even in a very difficult financial crisis, countries are delivering results in the AIDS response. We have seen a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment which has had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere," Sidibe said in a release.


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