1 lakh HIV cases averted in India
The project serves the groups that are most vulnerable to HIV infection, including sex workers, their clients, high-risk men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users in the six Indian states with an estimated population of 300 million.
All these six states had the highest prevalences of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in India in 2003, according to the study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, University of Hong Kong and the Public Health Foundation of India. The study says interventions like safe-sex counselling by peers, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, distribution of free condoms and needle and syringe exchange programmes among the most-at-risk population prevented the virus from spreading among the general population.
"Overall, we estimated that 100,178 HIV infections were averted at the population level from 2003 up to 2008 as a result of Avahan," the study`s author say. Lead author Prof Lalit Dandona at the PHFI, added: "HIV mainly spreads in India through sexual intercourse. HIV prevalence among the general population saw a significant reduction in AP, Karnataka, Maharashtra due to Avahan. There wasn`t a very high difference in Tamil Nadu, while there was no significant change in the two northeastern states."