New Delhi :December 1 is celebrated as World AIDS Day and this year it is being commemorated under the theme, “Take care of the complete you: ask for a HIV test too”.
Marking the cause ‘Know AIDS, no AIDS’ trended on Twitter on Tuesday.
This year the Union government will focus on a wellness and preventative drive that will be supported by mass media as well as community mobilization.
The drive will also aim to increase the number of people with HIV knowing their status.
India among 10 countries facing epidemic of HIV among adolescents
India, China and Pakistan are among the 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific that account for 98 per cent of youngsters aged 10 to 19 living with HIV, according to a UN report which said the region is facing a “hidden epidemic” of HIV among adolescents.
The report ‘Adolescents: Under the Radar in the Asia-Pacific AIDS Response’, published by the Asia-Pacific Inter-Agency Task Team on Young Key Populations, which includes UNICEF and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS warned that the AIDS epidemic cannot be ended as a public health threat by 2030 without tackling the issue of adolescents.
In 2014, 220,000 adolescents aged 10-19 were estimated to be living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific.
India is among the 10 countries in the region accounting for 98 per cent of those aged 10 to 19 living with HIV.
The other countries are Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Prevalence is particularly high in large cities like Mumbai, Hanoi, Jakarta, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and other urban areas.
The 2014 figure accounts for almost 15 per cent of all new cases in the region.
Although new infections are falling overall, they are rising among adolescents, coinciding with an increase in risky behaviour, such as multiple sexual partners and inconsistent condom use.
The report, released ahead of World AIDS Day today, added that in hotspot urban areas, HIV prevalence can be many times the national prevalence.
In general, female sex workers in Asia and the Pacific are 29 times more likely to be living with HIV compared with all women of reproductive age, according to a global systematic review in low and middle-income countries.
“The Asia-Pacific region is facing a hidden epidemic of HIV among adolescents, with an estimated 50,000 new infections in 2014 among those aged 15 to 19,” the report said calling on governments to develop specifically targeted prevention strategies.
Those at highest risk include gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, injecting drug users, and people who buy and sell sex.
In India, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is 3.5 per cent for those younger than 25 years while it is 4.9 per cent for men older than 25.
HIV prevalence among sex workers under 25 years of age in India was 1.7 per cent for the 2007-2014 period.
What the govt data says about India?
Assam and Tripura are among the North Eastern states that recorded the highest rate of annual increase in HIV cases, according to the Assam States Aid Control Society (ASACS).
Assam has registered a rate of increase from 0.04 per cent in 2007 to 0.07 per cent in 2011 with the number of cases increasing from 1,219 to 2,408 during the same period, ASACS Project Director Dhiraj Choudhury told reporters here today on World AIDS Day.
In Tripura, the number of cases have increased from 567 cases in 2007 to 951 in 2011.
Assam, however, is categorized as a low HIV Prevalence state with an adult HIV prevalence of 0.07 per cent while Manipur has the highest estimated adult HIV Prevalence in the country at 1.22 per cent in 2011.
Recent statistics reveal that the high prevalence states of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland have shown a declining trend in HIV prevalence, whereas new infections are increasing in some of the low prevalence states like Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, Choudhury said.
According to the NACO Technical Report, 2012, Assam had an estimated 12,804 people living with HIV (PLHA) in 2011.
ASACS State Epidemiologist Dr Chiranjeev Bhattacharjya said that Assam is a highly vulnerable state for HIV transmission due to several reasons, including the fact that it is the gateway to the North East and surrounded by three high prevalence states of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Besides, there is also a large number of young population from the state going to large cities for employment and getting involved in high-risk behaviour, Bhattacharjya said.
The disease is spread only in certain body fluids from a person infected with HIV. These fluids are blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
It can also be caused by having sex or sharing injection drug equipment, such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
You can use condoms correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Don’t inject drugs. If you do, use only sterile injection equipment and water and never share your equipment with others.
There is presently no vaccine to prevent contracting HIV.
The best way to protect yourself from the consequences of HIV and AIDS is to avoid being contaminated by the virus. The following precautionary measures are recommended to reduce the risks of contamination:
A condom is the best way to avoid the disease during sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral.
Avoid sharing syringes; use disposable gloves when at risk of direct contact with blood; for HIV positive women, consider giving birth by caesarian section; for HIV positive women who are new mothers, consider feeding your baby with formula instead of breastfeeding.