The children

Picture in India

Child Participation

Early years

Primary school years




© UNICEF India
Living with aids is not so bleak as most people fear.

The first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in India in Tamil Nadu in 1986. Since then the virus has spread from the high-risk groups to the general population very fast.  Today, there are 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS in India.

Women and Children
Women and children are increasingly becoming vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. The new findings conclude that 38% of the infected persons in India are women. This indicates the increasing feminization of HIV/AIDS in India. This alarming trend is being observed closely as more HIV positive mothers will unknowingly pass the virus on to their children.

India has an estimated 220,000 children infected by HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that 55,000 to 60,000 children are born every year to mothers who are HIV positive.  Without treatment, these newborns stand an estimated 30% chance of becoming infected during the mother’s pregnancy, labor or through breastfeeding after six months.  There is effective treatment available, but this is not reaching all women and children who need it. 

Young People
Over 35% of AIDS cases reported are below 25 years of age and 50% of new infections are between 15 and 24 years old. The current HIV/AIDS programmes are reaching only 15% of young people and 17% of high-risk groups such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users. Less than one quarter of young people have accurate information on how to protect themselves from HIV which, coupled with profound gender inequalities, make change in sexual attitudes and practices very difficult. It is estimated that there are 200 million young people in high prevalence and vulnerable districts who need access to information, skills and services to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection.

© UNICEF India
A simple anti-retroviral drug administered to the mother during labour and a spoonful of syrup to the baby soon after birth can prevent transmission of the AIDS virus to the newborn.

Primary prevention among young people is the greatest hope to change the course of the epidemic in India. As a result, the Adolescent Education Programme was conceived by UNICEF, NACO, Ministry of Education, UNESCO and UNFPA. The programme was implemented in all states across the country through the Department of Education (DoE) in collaboration with the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS). The curriculum includes growing up, HIV/AIDS, life skills and extra curricular activities. Already, 110,000 of the 150,000 high schools in India trained teachers and peer educators to pass on life skills and preventive messages.

On 1st December 2006, 25 best performing teachers were given national awards for imparting knowledge of HIV/AIDS amongst students.

UNICEF Areas of Work
As a part of the joint UN response to HIV/AIDS in India and within the context of National Aids Control Plan III, UNICEF collaborates with the Government of India and other partners in four key areas we call the 4 Ps:
1.Primary prevention
2.Prevention of parent-to-child transmission (PPTCT)
3.Paediatric HIV/AIDS
4.Protection, care and support for affected children

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Communication and Advocacy
Communications and advocacy on HIV/AIDS is essential to break the silence and contain the spread of the decease. To achieve this, UNICEF works on two levels:  (1) Promote HIV/AIDS awareness among young people and empower them to take action to fight against HIV/AIDS.  (2) Influence the policy-makers and key stakeholders at national, state and district levels to influence the policy, promote multi-sectoral response and increase government resources to fight against HIV/AIDS. 

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Govenment of India Action on HIV AIDS

  • Ensure safe blood transfusion

  • Scale up programmes for individuals and communities at high risk

  • Scale up prevention of parent-to-child transmission, care, support and treatment

  • For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection