India provide free anti-AIDS drugs as part of anti-AIDS campaign

With 5.7 million people already infected, India is stepping up its campaign against the disease, Sujata Rao, the top official in India's AIDS control program, told reporters.

Health authorities are accelerating a campaign to promote safe sex, popularize the use of condoms and expand the network of treatment facilities to reach out to people in six high-prevalence states across the country, she said.

Free anti-retroviral drugs are a major part of the plan.

India's has allotted an annual budget of rupees 9 billion US$200 million for the financial year 2006-2007 for its HIV/AIDS prevention program, according to Health Ministry figures.

Last month, UNAIDS issued a report saying India has world's largest number of people living with HIV. With an estimated 5.7 million infections, the country has surpassed South Africa's 5.5 million, according to the AP.