The number of new HIV infections in India increased marginally between 2010 and 2011, with Andhra Pradesh estimated to have the highest number of new infections in the 15-49 age group followed by Odisha, Jharkhand and Karnataka.
On World AIDS Day on Saturday, the new HIV Sentinel Surveillance to monitor levels and trends of HIV epidemic among different population groups in the country has revealed that males account for 69 per cent of the total new infections while females account for the remaining 31 per cent.
However, the HIV epidemic is stable in India and reversing on account of continued decline in the overall HIV prevalence rate in the high prevalence States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Nagaland.
The epidemic has seen a rollback in these States, with the national HIV adult prevalence declining from 0.31 per cent in 2009-2010 to 0.27 per cent in 2010-11.
New infections increase marginally, with survey findings stating, “The declining trend of new infections at national level was sustained till 2010 when estimate for this indicator was 1.30 lakh (0.84 lakh to 2 lakh) at rounded off values.
Between 2010 and 2011 the number of new HIV infections is estimated to have increased marginally. In 2011, it is estimated that 1.30 lakh (0.82 lakh to 2.18 lakh) adults and children were newly infected.”
The survey adds that while in 2011 the number of estimated new HIV infections is 1,30,977, it was 1,30,594 in 2010 — a slight raise. The number was 1,43,856 in 2007.
The positive part of the finding is that the estimated number of new HIV infections has declined steadily over the past decade by about 57 per cent from 2000 to 2011. During 2007, the first year of NACP III (National Aids Control Programme), new HIV infections were estimated at 1.43 lakh.
According to the new survey, an area of concern however is the increase in new infections and people living with HIV in the hitherto low prevalence states.
“The national HIV estimates confirm retention of a stable declining epidemic trend from 2007 to 2011 in the high-prevalence States. On the other hand, the epidemic has either remained stable or is showing a rising trend in some other States where prevalence of HIV was low,” the findings state.
In these low prevalence States — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Odisha, Punjab and Uttarakhand — the number of annual new infections and number of people living with HIV is estimated to have increased from 2007.
“This trend is corroborated by the 2010-11 HSS data.
While the estimated values for states with increasing epidemic may not be significant enough to currently impact on the overall national trend, they nevertheless provide evidence on the changing trend of the epidemic and need for appropriately tailoring the response,” the report points out.
The HIV Sentinel Surveillance (HSS) has, however, revealed that the number of annual new HIV infections among adults is 1.16 lakh, which is a slight decrease from 1.23 lakh new infections in 2007.
So far as the total number of people living with HIV (PLHIVs) goes, it has declined from 22.52 lakh in 2007 to 20.88 lakh in 2011.
In 2011, the highest number of PLHIVs are in Andhra Pradesh at 4.20 lakh followed by Maharashtra at 3.15 lakh. The other States with the estimated number of HIV infections more than one lakh are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Odisha.
Incidentally, south western states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu collectively still accounted for about 53 per cent of the total infections in 2011.
It is a major improvement from the past when these states accounted for 59 per cent of total infections in 2007.
Among the new HIV infections in 2011, 12 northern and central States of Bihar, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal account for about 63 per cent of the total infections.
The high-prevalence six States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland and Tamil Nadu collectively account for about 31 per cent of new HIV infections in India in 2011.