History of UNICEF in India

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in India

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Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases


Current levels of programming and resources will not result in reaching this MDG’s targets. However, recent commitments by political leadership at the highest levels are welcome.

  • With an estimated 5.1 million in India, only South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Based on national sero prevalence data over the last three years, it is evident that the epidemic has moved from high-risk groups in urban areas to rural parts of the country. The number of districts with higher than 1% prevalence has increased from 49 in 2002 to 111 in 2004.
  • The GOI and many state governments have increasingly recognized the importance of addressing HIV/AIDS. While HIV/AIDS has been most prevalent in the southern states, it now affects all states and requires a comprehensive, nationwide response. Identifying 14 states as ‘highly vulnerable’ has added a new urgency to the response.
  • The epidemic is shifting towards women and young people. Half of new infections occur among young people aged 15-29. Women account for 38% of all people living with HIV.
  • The percentage of infection through parent to child transmission has also gone up from 2.67% in 2003 to 3.54% in 2004. Some 55-60,000 new infections occur among children through mother to child transmission each year.  It is estimated that there are 220,000 children living with HIV in India today.
  • The Government has increasingly recognized the long-term impact of HIV/AIDS on children, and has begun programming in this area.



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