HIV/AIDS in India
The first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in Tamil Nadu, India 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
This alarming trend is being observed closely as more HIV positive mothers will unknowingly pass the virus on to their children. The incidence of parent to child transmission jumped from 2.7% to 3.5% in just one year.
India has an estimated 2.2 million children infected by HIV/AIDS. As of July 2006, about 1,850 children were receiving ART in India. NACO with support of Indian Academy of Pediatrics, Clinton Foundation, UNICEF and WHO have formulated the policy and guidelines which form the basis of the “National Paediatric initiative” for children living with HIV. NACO under this initiative has set a target for providing Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) to 10,000 children in 2006-07. This initiative has been launched on 30th November by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and William. J. Clinton.
Click here to read more on National Paediatric initiative.
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 has been conceived by UNICEF, NACO, Ministry of Education, UNESCO and UNFPA. The programme is implemented in all states across the country through the Department of Education (DoE) in collaboration with the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS).
This programme aims at 100% coverage of schools by 2006-7 (33 million students every academic year). 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 25 best performing teachers were given national awards for imparting knowledge of HIV/AIDS amongst students.
Click here to Read more about National Teachers Awards.
Communications and Advocacy
(1) Unite for children Unite Against AIDS
This campaign calls upon everyone to join together to put the care and protection of children, adolescents and young people at the centre of the HIV/AIDS agenda. Specifically, the campaign will work to mobilize resources, foster corporate social responsibility, move toward universal access to antiretroviral treatment, reduce the price of existing treatment and testing.
UNICEF popular campaigns are supported by famous celebrities from all walks of life, including films, sports, faith networks, political leaders and positive networks themselves.
This year, during the Championship Trophy, world cricket teams have taken up the issues of HIV/AIDS and delivered Public Service Announcements (PSAs). Through these PSAs world famous cricketers asked children and young people to learn more about HIV/AIDS and protect themselves and people around them form HIV infection and respect people who are HIV+. The South African team went a bit further and got involved in a special progarmme with HIV+ children in Gujarat.
Click here to read more about Unite for children Unite Against AIDS.
(2) Policy and Advocacy