India’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is at a turning point. India currently ranks third in the world, with an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV.
But we have made significant progress in recent years, with a reported drop of 66 per cent in the number of new infections from 2000 and a 32% decline from 2007.
We can do even better. However, formidable challenges remain if we are to end AIDS in India.
There is still much to do
We need to capitalise on successes already achieved in a number of states, mainly in the south, that have focused on the issue. Complacency must not derail the considerable efforts there.
We need to develop and implement urgent action in many states, particularly in the north as well as the west and east that have not addressed HIV/AIDS with the same urgency. There are ominous signs that the epidemic is on the rise in areas that had previously not reported significant numbers.
We need to renew and strengthen HIV/AIDS awareness efforts, especially among the young. Without proper sex education, our youth do not have essential information about sexual health and safety.
We need to ensure that everyone living with HIV is treated with respect – at home, in the community, and most importantly, in the health care system.
Through End AIDS India, we call upon everyone to join the effort to end the epidemic. By supporting the work of so many, we can collectively achieve what once seemed to be an impossible goal.