Clinton Announces New Program to Train 150,000 Indian Doctors; India's HIV Statistics Disputed
May 27, 2005
The Clinton Foundation will help India's National AIDS Control Organization train 150,000 doctors over the next year to treat HIV/AIDS patients in the country, former President Clinton said on Thursday in New Delhi, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Mahapatra, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/27). The program will provide Indian physicians with training in local HIV/AIDS epidemiology and virology; modes of HIV transmission, including mother-to-child, and disease progression; patient evaluation methods; case management; national antiretroviral drug guidelines; post-exposure prophylaxis; and treatment guidelines, according to a Clinton Foundation release. The U.K. Department for International Development will provide some of the funding and technical expertise for the initiative, according to the release (Clinton Foundation release, 5/26). Clinton said the lack of health care facilities and trained physicians in India is hindering HIV-positive people's access to treatment. The Clinton Foundation in September 2004 agreed to help NACO set up the Indian government's national antiretroviral treatment program in about 188 clinics and hospitals around the country, according to the Hindu.
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Number of New HIV Cases Disputed
The Indian government on Thursday said that new NACO data showing a nearly 95% decrease in the number of newly reported HIV cases in 2004 could be "misleading," Reuters AlertNet reports (Zaheer, Reuters AlertNet, 5/26). According to data released by NACO on Wednesday, 28,000 new HIV cases were reported in India in 2004, compared with 520,000 new cases in 2003. The data -- collected by the Indian independent organizations Institute of Research in Medical Statistics and the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare -- used UNAIDS and World Health Organization recommendations, but some AIDS advocates in the country said they dispute the numbers because no nongovernmental organizations that work with HIV-positive people have registered a corresponding drop in new demand for services (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/26). "Our numbers may not be exactly accurate," Science Minister Kapil Sibal said at the conference in New Delhi, adding that poor health care and other diseases have meant many HIV-positive people might have died of other causes before being recorded as a new HIV case. Irfan Khan -- program director for the Naz Foundation, a not-for-profit HIV/AIDS advocacy group -- said NACO's data do not include information from private blood banks, laboratories and volunteer groups. However, NACO said the figures had been vetted by UNAIDS and WHO. "Initially, even we were skeptical, ... but eventually we too were satisfied that these figures are reliable," NACO Director S.Y. Quraishi said (Reuters AlertNet, 5/26).
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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.