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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
India 'slows down HIV infections'
Aids campaigners in India
India says its awareness drive is getting through
India, which has the second highest number of HIV-infected people, has said it has seen a dramatic slowdown in the number of new infections.

The health ministry said initial estimates showed only 28,000 people became infected in 2004, compared to 520,000 in 2003.

It said the slowdown showed the success of its health awareness campaign.

In 2004, the number of people living with HIV/Aids was 5.13m, putting the country second only to South Africa.

CIA forecast

The federal health ministry said: "The government has been carrying out widespread Aids awareness programmes for many years... and the effect is showing in the lower growth rate of new infections."

Health and family welfare minister, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, said there would be an independent assessment of the estimates before a final figure could be released.

Dr Ramadoss said HIV prevalence had significantly risen in many states, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Pondicherry, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Manipur and Kerala.

The US Central Intelligence Agency has forecast there could be 20m Indians with HIV/Aids by 2010.

Delhi has dismissed the figure saying there was no evidence of such an upsurge.

It points to a far lower prevalence of HIV infection in the adult Indian population (0.91%) compared to South Africa's 21.5%

However, the ministry said there was "no room for complacency".

India's government admits there is still some way to go

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14 Jul 04 |  South Asia
India's widening Aids epidemic
28 Nov 03 |  South Asia

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