There is a decline in the prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) among three high risk groups like Men having sex with Men, Transgenders and Hijras (MTH).

A recent survey of Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (APSACS) indicated that in the last three years, the three high risk groups or collectively referred to as MTH, HIV prevalence has come down from 23 per cent to 10 per cent.

In the same period, the HIV prevalence among Female Sex Workers (FSW) too came down to seven per cent from 11 per cent indicating that the efforts of Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society and other voluntary organisations to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS among high risk groups seem to be paying off.

Even among the Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) -- persons who share needles -- the HIV prevalence had come down to three per cent from seven. The number of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) also dropped from 18 per cent to two per cent during the same time span, the study indicated. “There is a definite trend of decline in Human Immunodeficiency Virus prevalence among MTH, IDU and FSWs. This is a result of increase of awareness levels in the last few years,” said Joint Director, Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, T. Kailash Ditya, at a consultation meeting with MTH community members on Monday.

Interestingly, Andhra Pradesh happens to be the largest consumer of condoms and of the 44 crore condoms supplied free by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the State receives 10.9 crore condoms annually.

“We are consuming nearly 25 per cent of the overall condoms supplied by NACO indicating high awareness levels on HIV. We are working closely with different voluntary organisations to reach out to more MTF population,” Mr. Kailash Ditya said.