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5.2 million cases of HIV/AIDS in India: Ramadoss

Written by: Staff
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Washington, June 29 (UNI) Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said India has an estimated 5.2 million cases of HIV/AIDS, the second largest in the world.

Several efforts have been undertaken to stem the spread of the disease with the help of the Gates Foundation, which is India's biggest private partner and the Clinton Foundation, Mr Ramadoss said.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, he said these foundations have also been supporting India's programmes to combat malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases, besides helping set up public health schools.

The minister said the Indian government is focused on improving the health of the rural poor and has designed various projects for the purpose.

Mr Ramadoss, on a visit to the US from June 26-July 2, for bilateral discussions with his US counterparts, also spoke about how medical tourism has been catching on with several patients from the U K, US, West Asia and other countries seeking medical advice, surgery and help from India because it offers the lowest cost of medical treatment and also low cost medicines, but the best treatment.

He is expected to sign three MoUs with U S Secretary for Health and Human Services Mike O Leavitt.

He will also deliver a Lecture on ''Control of HIV/AIDS in India'' at John Hopkins University, Baltimore and discuss issues relating to establishment of an Institute of Public Health in India with the Provost Dr Steven Knapp and faculty of John Hopkins University.

He will also meet Director, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda Dr Elias A Zerhouni, besides visiting the National Cancer Institute and meeting Director of the Fogarty International Center in the NIH Dr Roger Glass.

He said Tamil Nadu has the distinction of having brought down HIV/AIDs cases in the last few years due to the spread of awareness messages and subsidised drugs. He said India supplies subsidised drugs for controlling HIV/AIDS in all parts of Africa.

A recent health ministry statement says that people living with HIV/AIDS face stigma and discrimination and therefore, care and support to such patients needs to be mainstreamed through general health services.

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