How shortages of antiretroviral therapies could jeopardize India’s race to eradicate AIDS.
World AIDS Day in 2011 marked the launch of the UNAIDS campaign “Getting to Zero” with a bold call for zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015. As we approach 2015 we should indeed celebrate the great strides the world has made in the battle against HIV/AIDS in each of these three arenas—but we must also acknowledge that much work remains to address the grave inequalities of access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care and support services worldwide. This year’s World AIDS Day theme of “Close the Gap” signals the UN’s commitment to enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need—a message particularly salient for India, as the country struggles to make crucial treatments widely available.
“Close the Gap” signals the UN’s commitment to enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need.
With approximately 2.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, India has the third largest HIV-positive population worldwide. Whereas global health experts prophesized doomsday scenarios about India’s AIDS epidemic at the beginning of the 21st century, today they tout India as a success story. Indeed India’s record in reining in this epidemic is commendable. India witnessed a 57% decline in new HIV infections between 2000 and 2011; a 38% decline in AIDS-related deaths between 2005 and 2013; and it now has a relatively low adult HIV prevalence rate of 0.3% (compared to Swaziland’s 26.5% and to the United States’ 0.6%).