India records highest AIDS deaths in the world.
One fact went unnoticed in the UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic released last month: the figure of estimated AIDS deaths in India was over 4 lakh in 2005.
This is the highest in the world,South Africa had an estimated figure of about 3.2 lakh for the same period.The report had also highlighted that India led the HIV/ AIDS table with 5.7 million people living with the disease.
The government is not willing to accept the figures easily. Before commenting on the figures, we need to study the methodology UNAIDS has adopted. We are going to study the projections in a week or so and then only can react to it, said Sujatha Rao, DG, NACO.
According to UNAIDS, the death figure shows the actual magnitude of the problem. This represents the real face of the problem as we need to assess what is the cost of the epidemic to the society, said Denis Broun, Country Representative of UNAIDS. The total deaths show the magnitude of the problem. The 4-lakh (figure) is a major catastrophe in a country where only less than one per cent adults are suffering from HIV/AIDS, said Broun.
Broun says the 4-lakh figure, however, like the 5.7 million HIV/AIDS cases, is a mathematical derivation and not a headcount. Scientists have used factors like IndiaÃ¢s average age of survival after the infection, data on the average age of people with HIV and the number of people on Anti-Retoviral Treatment.
The Indian government, too, is preparing a report on the number of deaths in the country. Likely to be out this month, itÃ¢s being prepared by the National Institute of Medical Statistics. The model for estimation is based on assessing the mortality of the population without HIV and comparing it with the mortality rates.
Another survey funded by the Gates Foundation and the Canadian government is basing its results on actual interviews and counts. Though the official figure of the number of people living with HIV is 5.2 million, the UNAIDS report put the figure at 5.7 million, the highest in the world. While the government gave the estimates for adult population (15 to 49 years of age), UNAIDS went ahead and estimated that an additional 1 lakh children and 4 lakh people above 50 years needed to be added.
Estimated AIDS deaths in India over 4 lakh in 2005
South Africa next with estimated 3.2 lakh deaths
India led HIV/AIDS table with 5.7 million infected
NACO doesn`t accept figures, says methodology needs to be studied
With millions of people worldwide living with AIDS and the HIV virus, a new U.N. chart paints a grim picture of the epidemic spreading not only through Africa, but also through parts of Asia and Latin America.
Five countries have at least 2 million people each living with AIDS or the HIV virus – Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, according to a chart released Thursday by the United Nations Population Division.
In five other African countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe – at least 20 percent of the adult population is infected.
By 2005, life expectancy will have dropped by at least 17 years in these five countries as well as in Kenya, Namibia and South Africa, the chart showed.
Outside Africa, AIDS deaths will decrease life expectancy by at least three years in the Bahamas, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti and Myanmar by 2005.
“The numbers show a worsening of the impact of the HIV (news – web sites)/AIDS epidemic in terms of increased illness, deaths and population loss – and we’re not even at the peak of the deaths,” said Joseph Chamie, director of the U.N. Population Division.
In 1999, the disease killed 310,000 people in India, more than any other country. Ethiopia was second with 280,000 deaths followed by Nigeria with 250,000.
“We’ve had wars before, and a great number of people have died in those wars, but it hasn’t had the impact on average life expectancy that we observe in some of the countries hardest-hit by HIV/AIDS,” Chamie told The Associated Press.
In Botswana, the United Nations projected that at the end of the 20th century, life expectancy should have been about 68 years. But because of AIDS, life expectancy was around 44 years. Similarly, in South Africa, without AIDS, life expectancy should have been around 63 years but instead it has fallen to around 57.
The chart was produced ahead of the U.N. General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS June 25-27, which is expected to adopt a global agenda to combat the disease. It includes AIDS statistics from every country, including life expectancy with and without AIDS, condom use, and health expenditure per capita.
U.N. figures indicate that the use of condoms – the cheapest and most effective form of protection against transmission of the HIV virus during sexual contact – is rare in most regions.
Despite the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic, however, the population of the most affected countries is expected to increase by 2050, Chamie said.
“We project that the African population which is today around 800 million is likely to be 2 billion by 2050, even with AIDS,” he said.
[Lakh = 100,000]