Despite major advances, HIV/AIDS remains one of the world’s most significant public health challenges. World AIDS Day (December 1) is used to unite people in the fight against HIV and to show their support for people living with HIV and commemorate those who have died.The member countries of the United Nations agreed last September to a new set of global goals to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.This article shares some facts about AIDS with data from the World Health Organisation, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, and UNAIDS.
The number of HIV positive people in the world continues to decline. The figures make it look as if India has declined more than any other big country. In fact, India has always had between two and three million cases. The Indian Ministry was cajoled into increasing its estimates around the turn of the century by a combination of UNAIDS, USAID, major donors and McKinsey — the management consultancy — who were working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. All had convinced themselves that India had a vast, hidden and fast-growing epidemic. All were entirely wrong and, after a few years, India was allowed to use its own estimates, the ones that had been correct all along.
Today, everyone agrees that India has about 2.1 million people living with HIV, the third largest population of people with the virus, after South Africa and Nigeria, according to the UNAIDS Gap report 2014.
Only over a third (36%) of HIV-positive Indians, including children and transgender people, have access to antiretroviral treatment, according to the Indian government.
The Indian government has promised of extra funding for the fight against HIV that will help screen more people for the virus and provide greater access to antiretroviral drugs, according to a top official in the country’s AIDS programme.
N.S. Kang, Additional Secretary in India’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) declined to say how much the organization was in line to receive. According to him, a formal announcement is expected next week .India currently dedicates 5% of its health budget to the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS.