Rising risk in India
Estimated worldwide HIV infections: 59 887 711 at noon on Wednesday November 10 2004.
Women in India, home to the world’s second-largest HIV population after South Africa, are becoming more vulnerable to Aids, leading to a growing ‘feminisation” of the epidemic, says a United Nations expert.
India has more than 5,1-million people living with HIV/Aids, and experts fear it could soon vault to the top of the world’s list as knowledge about the spread of the illness is still scant.
‘Originally, it was limited to men and sex workers,” Peter Piot, executive director of UNAids, said.
‘Now, 38% of the infected people in India are women.”
Experts say women account for about half the adults living with HIV/Aids worldwide.
The CIA says the number of Indians living with HIV/Aids could soar to more than 20-million by 2010 as the vast majority of victims are unaware of infection and few have access to anti-retrovirals.
The Indian government says the projection is exaggerated.
India has launched a national programme to fight HIV/Aids, but the disease has spread beyond traditionally high-risk groups.