With an HIV prevalence of 0.26% in the adult population, India has an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV, says UNAIDS 2017 report. The key populations most affected by HIV in India are sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and transgender people. While the statistics show decreasing rate of HIV infections but there is still a long way to make the country AIDS free by 2030. WAD’s 2018 theme “Know your status” reinstates the same. This year’s theme calls for an action to reach people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensure that they are linked to quality care and prevention services.
In context of the gravity of this issue, please let me know if you would like to do a story this World AIDS Day. spokespeople from AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Swasti Health Catalyst and International Planned Parenthood Federation SARO can share key insights on the following issues with substantiated facts and figures.
• Is decriminalisation of Section 377 changing the way marginalised gay or transgender people access healthcare services? - The flood of support for LGBTQ rights to be yourself started out, way back in 2001, as a trickle in a fight for access to healthcare for marginalised gay and transgender people. During the hearing against Section 377, the SC admitted that public acceptance of homosexual relationships will help control spread of AIDS.
• Ground reality of the statistics showing decrease in HIV infections in India: According to the 2017 UNAIDS data, new HIV infections in India have decreased by 46%, and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 22% since 2010.
• Importance of HIV testing & better access to service - WAD 2018 theme – ‘KNOW YOUR STATUS’
• Inherent linkage of HIV and SRH : Over 75% of HIV infections are acquired through sexual transmission, or through transmission during pregnancy, labour and delivery, or during breastfeeding
• The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an important opportunity to advance an integrated SRHR and HIV agenda by recognizing the importance of universal SRH for achieving health (SDG 3)
• HIV drug pricing: While the HIV drug pricing across the globe is under serious criticism, what is the state of antiretroviral treatment/HIV drug prices in India.
• ‘Transphobia’ in Indian healthcare system – Transgender community, today, is failing to attain basic medical treatment. In spite of a free public health system, transgender community has reported to face complete denial, humiliation and exclusion from medical services. The matter becomes even more grieve when a transgender is diagnosed with HIV. There is high HIV prevalence rate among trans community at 7.5% whereas the general population has a prevalence rate of 0.26%.
• Sexual health learning in the education system: Possible impacts of imparting sexual health education among school children on the condition of rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
• HIV/TB and HIV/ HCV Co-infection