India is one of the largest and most populated countries in the world, with over one billion inhabitants. Of this number, it's estimated that around 2.4 million people are currently living with HIV.
At the beginning of 1986, despite over 20,000 reported AIDS cases worldwide India had no reported cases of HIV or AIDS. There was recognition, though, that this would not be the case forlong, and concerns were raised about how India would cope once HIV and AIDS cases started to emerge.
At the beginning of the 1990s, as infection rates continued to rise, responses were strengthened. In 1992 the government set up NACO (the National AIDS Control Organisation), to oversee the formulation of policies, prevention work and control programmes relating to HIV and AIDS. In the same year,the government launched a Strategic Plan, the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) for HIV prevention. This plan established the administrative and technical basis for programme management and also set up State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) in 25 states and 7 union territories. It was able to make a number of important improvements in HIV prevention such as improving blood safety
In 2006 UNAIDSestimated that there were 5.6 million people living with HIV in India, which indicated that there were more people with HIV in India than in any other country in the world. In 2007, following the first survey of HIV among the general population, UNAIDS and NACO agreed on a new estimate – between 2 million and 3.1 million people living with HIV. In 2008 the figure was estimated to be 2.31 million.In 2009 it was estimated that 2.4 million people were living with HIV in India, which equates to a prevalence of 0.3%. While this may seem low, because India's population is so large, it is third in the world in terms of greatest number of people living with HIV. With a population of around a billion, a mere 0.1% increase in HIV prevalence would increase the estimated number of people living withHIV by over half a million.
Educating people about HIV/AIDS and how it can be prevented is complicated in India, as a number of major languages and hundreds of different dialects are spoken within its population. This means that, although some HIV/AIDS prevention and education can be done at the national level, many of the efforts are best carried out at the state and local level. Each state hasits own AIDS Prevention and Control Society, which carries out local initiatives with guidance from NACO. Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), which can significantly delay the progression from HIV to AIDS – have been available in developed countries since 1996. Unfortunately, as in many resource-poor areas, access to this treatment is limited in India; an estimated 285,000 people were receiving free ARVsin 2009
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in India. India accounts for one-fifth of the global TB incident cases. Each year nearly 2 million people in India develop TB, of which around 0.87 million are infectious cases. It is estimated that annually around 330,000 Indians die due to TB.
Since 1993, the Government of India (GoI) has been implementing theWHO-recommended DOTS strategy via the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). The revised strategy was pilot-tested in 1993 and launched as a national programme in 1997. By March 2006, the programme was implemented nationwide in 633 districts, covering 1114 million (100%) population. Phase II of the RNTCP started from October 2005, which is a step towards achieving the TB-related targetsof the Millennium Development Goals. Since 2006, RNTCP is implementing the WHO recommended “Stop TB Strategy”, which in addition to DOTS, addresses all the newer issues and challenges in TB control.
The objectives of RNTCP are:
To achieve and maintain at least 85% cure rate amongst New Smear Positive (NSP) pulmonary TB cases.
To achieve and maintain at least 70% detection of such...