About 1.96 lakh new HIV infections were reported in India last year, according to a new study which found that about 25 lakh people worldwide became newly infected in 2015, a number that has not changed in the past 10 years.
The new Global Burden of Disease 2015 (GBD 2015), published in The Lancet HIV journal, found that about 28.81 lakh people in our country were living with HIV.
The study shows a slow pace of decline in new HIV infections worldwide, with a drop of just 0.7 per cent a year between 2005 and 2015 compared to the fall of 2.7 per cent a year between 1997 and 2005.
Improvements and updates in GBD’s data sources and methodology indicate that the number of people living with HIV has been increasing steadily from 27.96 million in 2000 to 38.8 million in 2015.
Annual deaths from HIV/AIDS have been declining at a steady pace from a peak of 1.8 million in 2005, to 1.2 million in 2015, partly due to the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The proportion of people living with HIV on ART increased rapidly between 2005 and 2015, from 6.4 per cent to 38.6 per cent for men and from 3.3 per cent to 42.4 per cent for women.
While the annual number of new infections has decreased since its peak at 3.3 million per year in 1997, it has stayed relatively constant at around an estimated 2.5 million a year worldwide for the past decade.
“Although scale-up of antiretroviral therapy and measures to prevent mother-to-child transmission have had a huge impact on saving lives, our new findings present a worrying picture of slow progress in reducing new HIV infections over the past 10 years”, said lead author Haidong Wang from the University of Washington in the US.
“Development assistance for HIV/AIDS is stagnating and health resources in many low-income countries are expected to plateau over the next 15 years,” said Christopher Murray, director of the the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
“Therefore, a massive scale-up of efforts from governments and international agencies will be required to meet the estimated USD 36 billion needed every year to realise the goal of ending AIDS by 2030, along with better detection and treatment programmes and improving the affordability of antiretroviral drugs,” said Murray.
The findings come from a comprehensive new analysis of HIV incidence, prevalence, deaths and coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the global, regional, and national level for 195 countries between 1980 and 2015.
Despite years of strong progress in reducing HIV at the global level, success in different countries and regions varies as the HIV epidemic has peaked and declined at different times, and depending on access to, and quality of ART, and other care.