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HIV infections in India could reach 5.5 million annually

HIV infections in India could reach 5.5 million annually

As many as 5.5 million people could be infected with HIV each year in India by 2033 if urgent steps aren't taken immediately to prevent the disease's spread, according to a World Bank report released Friday. Currently, there are about 5 million HIV infections each year worldwide. The report, titled "HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention in India: Costs and Consequences of Policy Options," says that AIDS will become the leading cause of death in the country by 2033, accounting for 17% of all deaths and more than 40% of all infectious disease deaths. The report recommends that the Indian government improve its data collection on the epidemic, significantly enhance its antiretroviral program to provide widespread anti-HIV therapy, and evaluate different programs to maximize patient adherence to medication regimens. The government also is urged to scale up HIV prevention programs to discourage Indians from having multiple sex partners and sharing needles to inject drugs and to boost condom use throughout the country. The Indian government responded to the report by saying that it believes the number of new HIV infections in the country is stabilizing and that the country will not experience the HIV prevalence suggested by the World Bank report.

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