Four of every 10 Asians living with HIV are Indian – U.N. report
India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with 2.1 million Indians accounting for four of every 10 people infected in Asia, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday.
The epidemic has killed about 39 million of the 78 million people it has affected worldwide since it began in the 1980s, the U.N. AIDS programme said, adding that the number of people infected with HIV was stabilising around 35 million.
India accounted for 51 percent of AIDS-related deaths in Asia in 2013 and 8 percent of deaths worldwide.
At the end of 2013, more than 700,000 people in India were on antiretroviral therapy, the second-largest number of people on the treatment in any country. However, 64 percent of those affected do not have access to antiretroviral treatment.
In India, the number of new HIV infections declined by 19 percent between 2005 and 2013, yet it accounted for 38 percent of all new HIV infections in Asia. The country recorded a 38 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the same period.
HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men is between 4-9 percent in India. In Chhattisgarh, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is 15 percent, three times the national figure.
Data indicates that more than 75 percent of women in India who tested positive for HIV have husbands who travel far for work, such as truck drivers migrant labourers. In certain states, nearly 90 percent of newly diagnosed HIV infections were among wives with a migrant husband.
In Mumbai, almost a quarter (22.9 percent) of female prostitutes who were victims of trafficking are HIV-positive. Data collected from interviews in India indicates that women forced into prostitution are nearly three times as likely to be HIV-positive. Around 2.8 percent of sex workers in the country are estimated to be HIV-positive.