Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or popularly known as AIDS is a disease which affects the human immunity system. AIDS is caused caused by human immunodeficiency virus, which is popularly known as HIV. There is know no cure for this disease. Prevention of AIDS through safe sex and needle exchange programs are the major strategy to curb this disease. AIDS is a global disease outbreak, also known as a pandemic disease.
AIDS in India
The following states have recorded the highest levels of AIDS prevalence at antenatal and sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics over recent years:
Andhra Pradesh in the southeast of the country has a total population of around 76 million, of whom 6 million live in or around the city of Hyderabad, The AIDS prevalence at antenatal clinics was 1% in 2007. This figure is smaller than the reported 1.26% in 2006, but is still highest out of all stales. AIDS prevalence at STD was very high at 17% in 2007. Among high-risk groups, AIDS prevalence was highest among men who have sex with men (MSM) (17%), followed by female sex workers (97%) and IDUs’ (3.7%).
Goa, a popular tourist destination, is a very small state in the southwest of India (population 1.4 million). In 2007 HIV prevalence among antenatal and STD clinic attendees was 0.18% and 5.6% respectively. The Goa State AIDS Control Society reported that in 2008, a record number of 26,737 people were tested for AIDS of which 1,018 (3.81%) tested positive.
Karnataka, a diverse state in the southwest of India, has a population of 53 million. AIDS prevalence among antenatal clinic attendees exceeded 1% from 2003 to 2006, and dropped to 0.5% in 2007. Districts with the highest prevalence tend to be located in and around Bangalore in the southern part of the state or in northern Karnataka’s “devadasi belt”.
Devadasi women are a group of women who have historically been dedicated to the service of gods. These days, this has evolved into sanctioned prostitution. As a result many women from this part of the country are supplied for sex trade in big cities such as Mumbai.
Maharashtra is a very large state stretching upto hundred thousand square kilometers. It has a total population of 97 million. The capital city of Maharashtra is Mumbai (Bombay). It is the most populous city in India. The AIDS prevalence at antenatal clinics in Maharashtra was 0.5% in 2007.
At 18%, the state has the highest reported rates of AIDS prevalence among female sex workers. Similarly high rates were found among injecting drug users (24%) and men who have sex with men (12%) (Nagelkerke, 2002).
With a population of over 66 million, it is tire seventh most populous state in India. Between 1995 and 1997 AIDS prevalence among pregnant women tripled to around 1.25%. The State Government subsequently set up an AIDS society, which aimed to focus on prevention initiatives.
A safe sex campaign was launched, encouraging condom use and attacking the stigma and ignorance associated with AIDS. Between 1996 and 1998 a survey showed that the number of men reporting high-risk sexual behavior had deceased. In 2007 AIDS prevalence among antenatal clinic attendees was 0 25%. AIDS prevalence among injecting drug users was 16.8%, third highest out of all reporting states. AIDS prevalence among men who have sex with men and female sex workers was 6.6% and 4.68% respectively.
Manipur is a small state of 2-4 million people in northeast of India. Manipur borders Myanmar (Burma), one of the world’s largest producers of illicit opium. In the early 1980’s drug use became popular in northeast India and it wasn’t king before AIDS was reported among injecting drug users in the legion. Although NACO report a slate-wise AIDS prevalence of 17.9% among IDUs’, studies from different areas of the state find prevalence to be as high as 32%.
AIDS is no longer confined to IDUs, but has spread further to the general population as well. AIDS prevalence at antenatal clinics in Manipur exceeded 1% in 2005, but then declined to 0.7% in 2007. Adult HIV prevalence is the highest out of all states at 1.57%.
The small north eastern state of Mizoram has fewer than a million inhabitants. In 1598, an HIV epidemic took off quickly among the state’s male injecting drug users. Some of the clinics registered rates of more than 70% among their patients. In recent years the average prevalence among this group has been much lower, around 3.7%. AIDS prevalence at antenatal clinics was 0.75% in 2007.
Nagaland is another small north eastern state where injecting drug use has again been the driving force behind the spread of AIDS. In 2003 AIDS prevalence among IDUs’ was 8.43%, but has declined to 1.91% in 2007. AIDS prevalence at antenatal clinics and STD clinics was 0.60% and 3.42% respectively in 2007.
Punjab, a state in northern mainland India, has shown an increase in prevalence among injecting drug users, 13.8% in 2007. One of the richest cities in the Punjab is Ludhiana which has AIDS prevalence of 21% among IDUs’. Denis Broun, head of UNAIDS in India has staled the problem of IDUs’.
India being the fourth largest country with people affected with AIDS, it has established medical centers and awareness campaigns throughout the nation in order to get rid of AIDS, the fatal disease.
- Nagelkerke, N. J (2002). “Modeling HIV/AIDS epidemics in Botswana and India: impact of interventions to prevent transmission, SAGE, London.