The number of new HIV infections in India has come down by 57 percent and related deaths by 25 percent in the last decade with the government now working to achieve the ambitious global goals of zero new infection and death by raising awareness and boosting preventive methods.
On World AIDS Day, Union Health Minister J P Nadda sought people’s involvement to make the mission success, saying governments or NGOs alone cannot deal with the challenge successfully.
Launching the helpline number – 1097, a digital resource centre and a supply chain management system for HIV patients, Nadda said, “It’s the work of every individual to come out and fight it (HIV) out. There should be zero discrimination against people with HIV. This should be our commitment.”
Stressing on the importance of “restraint” and “precaution”, he said it was time for people to consider their lifestyle, noting that preventive health care has become important after an era when it was considered that antibiotics can “cure everything”.
“We should be working on two fronts. We should be aware and put special emphasis on prevention and help those living with HIV and AIDS so that they face no discrimination,” he said in his address.
Health Ministry, he said, had signed MoUs with 11 central ministries for better coordination in tackling AIDS and MoUs with five more ministries are in pipeline. “The work involves bringing on board 28 ministries,” he said.
The first HIV positive person was reported in 1986 in India which currently has 2.1 million affected people, the third highest in the world even as the country’s efforts in restricting its spread is considered a success by most.
Health Secretary Lov Verma said HIV-related deaths have come down by 30 percent since 2007.
UNAIDS Country Coordinator Oussama Tawil said India should work to ensure that 90 percent of people with HIV should know that they suffer from this condition, 90 percent of them should be covered by treatment and 90 percent of those being treated should have a positive health impact on their lives.