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India may surpass South Africa as nation with highest HIV infection

Sunday 11 July 2004

Bangkok, July 11. (PTI): India is poised to surpass South Africa in 2006 as the country with the single highest number of HIV infections in the world, warns a report by a medical research group adding there was on an average only one trained doctor to treat every 5,000 HIV patients in the country.

"India is experiencing very low HIV prevalence that obscures very serious epidemic occurring in specific population and locations. Current estimates of people with HIV vary widely - UNAIDS puts it at 4.6 million," the TREAT ASIA report said adding that since 1999, experts had voiced concern that low testing rates produced misleading statistics.

"If India is allowed to pass the five per cent HIV prevalence which is a marker of future exponential increases, the disease could quickly spread throughout the country, the report warned noting "already India is poised to surpass South Africa as the nation with the greatest number of people living with HIV by 2006."

TREAT Asia, or Therapeutics Research, Education, and AIDS Training in Asia, is a network of clinics, hospitals, and research institutions, and is run by the American Foundation for AIDS Research, amFAR, based in New York.

In its report on India, TREAT quoted an Indian doctor working with AIDS patients, Sanjay Pujari of Ruby Hall Clinic, as saying that there were only 1,000 doctors trained to treat HIV patients in all of India. "An average of one doctor for every 5,000 HIV positive citizen."

See online : The Hindu


in The Hindu, Sunday, July 11, 2004.

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