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Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 11:01 GMT
India's Aids campaigns in problems
A sex worker in India pinning an Aids ribbon
India has one of the highest number of Aids cases in the world
By the BBC's Alastair Lawson in Delhi

Aids campaigners in India say that as many as 23 people a minute are being infected with the HIV virus.

They say that the battle against Aids in the country is still being inhibited by a lack of unity among the various charities and non-governmental organisations that have been set up to fight the spread of Aids.

Each NGO has its own way of trying to spread awareness. So we're actually confusing a lot of people.

Karuna Roy
Aids Campaigner

There is a sense of despondency among the various groups spearheading the fight against the illness in India.

The latest figures released by the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) - show that four million people are infected.

No co-ordination

Campaigners such as Karuna Roy say that there is still a great deal of fear and ignorance surrounding the virus, plus a lack of co-ordination among the various groups set up to fight the spread of Aids.

An aids patient consoles her friend who is in the final stages of the disease
The HIV Aids epidemic is the most serious health problem in India

"Well, I think a lot is being done. But the only problem with us is that each NGO has its own way of trying to spread awareness.

"So we're actually confusing a lot of people. If we had the same strategies - the same ways of communicating - I think that would help the problem more."

According to NACO, the HIV Aids epidemic is the most serious public health problem in India.

The illness they say is now commonplace in urban and rural areas.

Advanced state

The spread of Aids is advanced by low awareness and literacy levels, combined with large migrations of labour.

The figures released by NACO show that Aids is spreading throughout India.

The organisation says that the virus is in an advanced stage in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Manipur.

The emphasis now, the organisation says, must be on a concerted AIDS prevention and control campaign across the country which is supported by everyone - including the government.

See also:

22 Jun 01 | South Asia
India to regulate Aids drugs adverts
22 Aug 00 | South Asia
India's growing Aids problem
30 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
India HIV prisoner fights release
30 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Asia's burgeoning Aids epidemic
03 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Drug users fuel Aids explosion
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