Dr. Naresh Goel who is the deputy director general of National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) has said that lack of knowledge and poor awareness amongst people is a barrier in achieving the target of zero HIV/AIDS infection by the year 2020.
Goel added that Goa is yet to attain satisfactory results when it comes to creating awareness amongst the people on HIV/AIDS and reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.
The deputy director spoke at the inaugural function of the third regional workshop on strengthening the public and private sector response to HIV/AIDS. The workshop was jointly conducted by NACO, Goa State Aids Control Society (GSACS) and International Labor Organisation (ILO).
According to a National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report, in 2005-06, 28.5 per cent women in India had knowledge about HIV/AIDS. The awareness increased marginally in the year 2015 as 34.6% knew about the disease. The report also stated that 30.3 percent Indian men knew about HIV/AIDS in the year 2005-06, which increased to 41.9 percent in 2015-16.
Goel stated that from 2008 HIV infection has decreased to 66 percent and the number of deaths by 54 per cent. India reports 86,000 infections and about 67,000 deaths every year due to the disease.
He also said that no sharp decline has been reported in the past two to three years and this is a major barrier in accomplishing the target of zero-infection by 2020.