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In India the HIV/AIDS epidemic is now 19 years old. Within the short period it has emerged as one of the most serious public health problems in the country. The initial cases of HIV/AIDS were reported among commercial sex workers in Mumbai and Chennai and injecting drug user in the north-eastern state of Manipur.

UNAIDS says “at present in India, infection rates, at under 2% of the total adult population. While surveillance remains patchy the indications are that 5 to 7 millions people are living with HIV, even at the most conservative estimate, the country with the second largest number of HIV infected people in the world”.

The overall population is above 1000 million in India. The available surveillance data clearly indicates that HIV is prevalent in almost all parts of the India. In the recent years it has spread from urban to rural areas and from individuals practising risk behaviours to the general population. Studies indicate that more and more women attending antenatal clinics are testing HIV positive thereby increasing the risk of parental transmission. About 75% of the infection occurs from the sexual route (both heterosexual and homosexual), about 8% through blood transfusion, another 8% through injecting drug use. About 89% of the reported cases are occurring in sexually active and economically productive age group of 18-40 years.

HIV/AIDS is not a disease, which spreads randomly and is transmitted on a consequence of a specific behavioural pattern and has strong economic implications. It not only costs huge sums of money in terms of controlling the opportunistic infection such as TB, pneumonia and Cryptococcus meningitis, but also seriously affects individuals in their prime productive years causing serious economic loss to them and their families.

Our state Andhra Pradesh State is recognised as a second highest rate of HIV/AIDS incidence State in the country with high HIV prevalence 0-1% of the total 8 crores population infected with HIV (approximately 8,00,000). Our country INDIA is also recognised as a second highest rate of HIV/AIDS incidence in the world.

In India with a large population and population density, low literacy levels and consequence low levels of awareness, HIV/AIDS is one of the most challenging health problems ever faced by the country

President and CEO, Blood donors Organisation for Social Service (BOSS) Centre for Information, Prevention and Counselling on AIDS (CIPCA)

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