This came to fore during a discussion on ‘India HIV estimates 2021 fact sheet’ that was issued by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at an awareness programme organised on ‘World AIDS day’ at Rumi Gate on Thursday.
NACO periodically undertakes the HIV estimation process to provide the updated information on the status of HIV epidemic in India. It uses the internationally accepted UNAIDS recommended ‘Spectrum’ tool for estimation by analysis of existing data to prepare fact sheets. Latest, sheet was released in August this year.
Officials of Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS) said the fact sheet estimates 1.78 lakh people living with HIV in the state but only 1.22 lakh know that they have this viral infection while others are unaware.
They said as per the fact sheet, in 2018, only 58% of 1.65 lakh PLHIV knew about their status. This figure improved to 61% of 1.69 lakh in 2019 and further went to 63% of 1.73 lakh in 2020 and 65% of 1.78 lakh in 2021.
“With deep penetration in the rural areas and screening all pregnant women, blood donors and other patients, we are able to identify more PLHIV patients who are unaware of the status. However, the road ahead is very long,” said Dr Ramesh Srivastav, joint director UPSACS.
He also highlighted that they have been able to register nearly 85% (1.05 lakh) of the PLHIV cases under antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 52 centres.
“We are increasing the number of targeted intervention NGOs which go to vulnerable points such as massage parlours, drug addicts and migrant labourers to check new infections and register those who are not under ART,” said a senior officer, UPSACS.
He further said of 1.05 lakh in ART, 85% are virally suppressed meaning they can’t transfer infection to others.
Additional director UPSACS Heeralal said, “Other than identifying the existing cases, our purpose is to prevent transmission by spreading awareness about HIV and precautions to keep it at bay.”