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Index: Virology | Epidemiology | Relief measures | Other resources

Which AIDS virus is common in India?

The virus isolated from six individuals in India has been sequenced. Five turn out to be of type C (prevelant in Asia) and one a mosaic of types A and C. AIDS treatments developed against the type B virus prevelant in the US may be less effective in India.

Who is likely to be infected?

See also the pages by WHO, UNAIDS and NACO.

Perhaps 3 to 5 million people in India are living with HIV (in 1997). Infection rates nationally are less than 1%, although high-risk groups, specially in big cities, may have over 50% infection rates.

The incidence of HIV in Mumbai has grown rapidly since the first surveys were performed in 1989. Random testing of different segments of the population show different levels of incidence. Alarmingly large incidence rates of 51% have been found among sex-workers in Mumbai. Spread into the general hetero-sexual population has been found in a random testing of pregnant women in Mumbai which showed incidence rates of 2.4% (in 1996). Similar rates were found among blood donors in various government run hospitals.

Overall, the incidence rate in India is about 0.7%, of which an alarmingly high 16.6% is due to infected blood, unclean syringes and other medical inefficiencies. In Maharashtra, the incidence climbs to 1.14%, which is close to twice the national average.

HIV incidence rates in Mumbai

Pregnant women0.>2
Blood donors1.   
Sex workers26.650.9951    
Injecting drug users  26313133 

Source: For data upto 1997 the source is UNAIDS, except on blood donors for which the source is a report in the November 15, 1995, Times of India, Mumbai attributed to the WHO. Data for 1998 is taken from NACO.

How can the spread of AIDS be controlled?

See also NACO list of programs.

The central government has set up the National AIDS Control Organisation as a nodel organisation to formulate policy and implement programs for the control of HIV/AIDS in India.

A sustained awareness campaign among the high-risk population of the sex workers in Kamathipura has yielded some benefits. However, institutional safeguards for blood banks and other health care units still leave a lot of scope for improvement. The state government of Maharashtra has drawn up an official HIV/AIDS control program, and has received Rs. 21 crores (210 million) out of a Rs. 220 crore (2.2 billion) loan from the World Bank.

Some HIV/AIDS resources

What is HIV/AIDS?

Where do I learn more about HIV/AIDS?

How many people are affected in India?

How can I help?

Where do I learn about the biology of HIV/AIDS?

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