[Answered]Discuss the progress made so far in campaign against AIDS in India. What are various government measures taken against AIDS and how to tackle it further?

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body.Progress made by India against AIDS.Steps taken by Government of India against AIDS.

Conclusion. Way forward.

 The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted by member countries of the United Nations in 2015, set a target of ending the epidemics of AIDSby 2030 (SDG 3.3). There has been much success achieved in the past 20 years in the battle against AIDS, but more needed to be done. Government has made significant efforts in order to raise awareness against AIDS.

Progress made by India against AIDS:

  1. The Indian experience has been more positive but still calls for continued vigilance and committed action. HIV-related deaths declined by 71% between 2005 and 2017.
  2. HIV infection now affects 22 out of 10,000 Indians, compared to 38 out of 10,000 in 2001-03. An estimated 2.14 million persons living with HIV and records 87,000 estimated new infections and 69,000 AIDS-related deaths annually.
  3. A report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2018 says India has brought down HIV incidence significantly. According to this report, there are total 2.1millionHIV patients in India, with about 83% belonging to 15-49 years of affected people age group.
  4. Although the prevalence of AIDS has reduced among children below 15 years to 3.3%, it remain high among women at about 39%.
  5. There are wide state variation. Nine States have rates higher than the national prevalence figure.North Eastern States like Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram account for highest adult (15-49 years) HIV prevalence in the country
  6. India achieved MDG goal 6. Between 2010 and 2017, new HIV infections have decreased by 27% and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 56%.

Steps taken by Government of India against AIDS:

  1. National AIDS Control Program (NACP):Shortly after reporting the first AIDS case in 1986, the Government of India established a National AIDS Control Program (NACP) which has now become the Department of AIDS under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Targeted interventions for the most at risk populations, preventive interventions among the general population, and involvement of NGOs and other sectors and departments, such as education, transport and police was made under it.
  2. National Helpline: It was launched to facilitate easy dissemination of information related to HIV/AIDS to general public, People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), High Risk Groups (HRG) and vulnerable population
  3. Indian Medical Council Act(Professional Conduct, & Ethics) Regulations, 2002: It lays down certain duties on the part of doctors towards the HIV/AIDS patients.
  4. Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1986: It provides for conducting compulsory medical examination for detection of HIV/AIDS among the victims of trafficking.
  5. HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017: The Act seeks to prevent and control thespread of HIV and AIDS.
  • Prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS.
  • Provides for informed consent and confidentiality with regard to their treatment.
  • Places obligations on establishments to safeguard their rights.
  1. National strategic plan (2017-24): The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the plan with aim to eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030. In 2016, India commit at the UNs’ High-Level Meeting on AIDS towards the goal of ‘ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.National Strategic Plan (2017-24) aims towards fast track strategy of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and is expected to pave a roadmap for achieving the target of 90:90:90.
  2. Mission SAMPARK: Its aim is to trace those who are Left to Follow Up and are to be brought under Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) services.“Community Based Testing” will be taken up for fast-tracking the identification of all who are HIV positive.
  3. 90:90:90 Strategy: It is a new HIV treatment narrative of UNAIDS programme which has set targets of:
  • 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status (90% diagnosed),
  • 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (90% on HIV treatment) and
  • 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression (90% suppressed).
  1. Project Sunrise: It aims for prevention of AIDS specially among people injecting drugs in the 8North-Eastern states.

Way forward:

  1. Emphasis on both prevention & control as well as care and support is needed.
  2. There is a need to invest in research to find cure for this epidemic.
  3. Focus on areas that have received little attention so far from government and other NGOs
  4. Government must remove colonial laws like IPC section 377 to reach to transgender and sex workers
  5. Targeted intervention should be adopted. As in Karnataka sensitising police personnel and educating female sex workers help to reduce HIV infection.
  6. More awareness should be generated to reduce stigma attached with the HIV infected people.

Stigma towards people living with HIV is widespread. The most affected groups are often marginalised, have little or no access to legal protection of their basic human rights. Steps must be taken to further reduce the stigma.The strength of India’s well established National AIDS Control Programme, with a cogent combination of prevention and case management strategies, must be preserved.

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