Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

09 May 2012

India's Involvement to the Change of HIV/AIDS

via the Hindustan Times, by Sanchita Sharma

A decade ago, New Delhi’s The Ashok turned away a dozen gay men who wanted to book a conference room at the hotel for a think-in on AIDS, which was still labelled a gay man’s disease. It took several phone calls from the senior bureaucracy at the Union Health Ministry’s National AIDS Control
Organisation (NACO) to get them a 12x12 conference room for one day.

“Five years ago, the same group of men who have sex with men (MSMs, the politically correct term for homosexuals) organised a huge convention at The Ashok, with 700 MSM and transgender participants overrunning the hotel for days. Laws may not have changed in the courts or in the books, but the law in the streets has changed, and this amazing turnaround in society’s attitude has happened because of AIDS,” says JVR Prasada Rao, former Union health secretary and National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) chief, who was appointed the UN Special Envoy for AIDS in the Asia Pacific region this week.

Safe and sound, legally

 Change in social attitude is fantastic, no doubt, but it is not enough to keep new infection down. Legal environment around people most at risk — homosexuals, injecting drug users and sex workers — has to change to encourage them to seek HIV-prevention and treatment services that have been proven to cut down new infections dramatically, not just in India but everywhere around the world.

Last year, the HPTN052 study — HIV Prevention Trials Network’s study that was declared the Breakthrough of the Year 2011 by the journal Science — showed that if an HIV-positive person adheres to antiretroviral therapy (ART) used to treat AIDS, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner is reduced by 96%.

In March this year, the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies reconfirmed the HPTN findings by presenting data showing that in areas where ART uptake is high (greater than 30%) people who do not have HIV are 38% less likely to get infected with the virus as compared to areas of low uptake (less than 10%).

With 7.4 million on HIV treatment globally, new HIV infections have fallen in 33 countries since 2001, though mostly in Africa and Asia. UNAIDS credits the halving of India HIV-infected people to 2.39 million to both improved data collection methods and an actual fall in new infections because NACO provides 4.48 lakh people free anti-retroviral therapy (ART), which lowers the HIV load in the body and lowers the risk of infecting partners while helping the infected live healthier and longer.

Read the Rest.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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