HIV Prevalence Among Young People in Southern India Has Declined By About 35%, Study Says
March 30, 2006
The HIV prevalence among young people ages 15 to 24 in southern India has declined by about 35%, primarily because of prevention campaigns aimed at commercial sex workers and their clients, according to a study published Thursday in the online edition of the Lancet, the AP/Globe and Mail reports (George, AP/Globe and Mail, 3/30). Rajesh Kumar of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, and colleagues examined HIV prevalence among 294,000 women ages 15 to 34 attending prenatal clinics in four states in southern India and 14 states in the north. They also examined HIV prevalence among 59,000 men ages 15 to 34 attending clinics for sexually transmitted infections in the same regions. The researchers found that among women ages 15 to 24 attending prenatal clinics in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karanataka, HIV prevalence decreased to 1.1% in 2004 from 1.7% in 2001, a relative decline of 35%. Among men ages 20 to 29 attending STI clinics, the researchers recorded a 36% relative decline in HIV prevalence over the same time period (AFP/ChannelNewsAisa.com, 3/30). The researchers found no significant decrease in HIV prevalence among women ages 25 to 34 or among men and women in the northern states, where the epidemic is driven by injection drug use. The study's findings might signify a decrease in the number of new infections acquired through heterosexual contact in India, according to the researchers. They credited the decline among young people to an increase in condom use among commercial sex workers and their clients in the southern part of the country (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 3/30). According to researcher Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto's Department of Public Health Sciences, condom use among commercial sex workers has increased by 70% since HIV awareness campaigns were launched (AP/Globe and Mail, 3/30).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.