HIV infection rates decline by one-third in India

The number of HIV infections has fallen by more than a third among young people in southern India, the worst-hit region of the South Asian nation, according to a study published Thursday in a leading medical journal.

The 35 percent drop in HIV cases among people aged 15-24 was the result of better prevention, and not due to deaths from AIDS, researchers from the University of Toronto said in a study published on the Web site of the Lancet, a leading British medical journal.

The researchers singled out efforts by the Indian government, the World Bank and other nongovernment groups to educate sex workers and men who frequent them about the dangers of HIV, efforts that "appear to have contributed to a drastic decline," in new infections.

The study was conducted by a team of Indian and Canadian researchers who tracked HIV prevalence among 204,050 young women and nearly 60,000 men between 2000 and 2004 in both the north and south of the country.

They found that the prevalence rate in the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, which account for about 75 percent of all India's HIV infections, fell from 1.7 percent in 2000, to 1.1 percent in 2004, reports the AP.


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