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At a glance: HIV in India

Where civil society plays a big role in the HIV response 

Key statistics

In 2019, which is the latest available data:

  • 2.3 million people with HIV 

  • 0.22% adult HIV prevalence 

  • 69,000 new HIV infections 

  • 58,000 AIDS-related deaths 

  • 64% people with HIV on antiretroviral treatment 

Progress towards targets

The current targets for HIV testing and treatment are called the 95-95-95 targets and must be reached by 2025 in order to end AIDS by 2030.

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Did you know?

The number of people who used integrated care services decreased during COVID-19, by about 25-35%. 

Prevention

Preventing HIV in India focuses on: 

  • reaching key populations, including female sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, truck drivers and migrants 

  • preventing mother-to-child transmission 

  • increasing condom availability and use 

  • increasing knowledge of HIV prevention 

  • harm reduction activities for people who use drugs. 

Did you know? 

The annual number of new HIV infections in India has decreased by 37% since 2010. India’s current National AIDS Control Program strategy has focus on prevention.  

Testing

Testing for HIV is: 

  • possible via self-testing at home 

  • more common among women because of high numbers of women testing for HIV through preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services 

  • delivered according to the needs of each geographical area. 

Did you know?

Testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) declined by almost 90% in the first month of India’s first COVID-19 lockdown, and it recovered only slightly in the subsequent months. 

Treatment

Treatment for HIV is: 

  • free and has been since 2004 

  • given to adults and children as soon as they test positive 

  • delivered in partnership with the community and NGOs 

  • addressed alongside treatment for co-morbidities, such as TB. 

Did you know? 

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of people with HIV on treatment in India increased almost fourfold. 

Local context

There have been major legal advances in protecting people most at risk of HIV and people with HIV in India. India’s HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act 2017 is a rights-based, comprehensive law that protects people with HIV from discrimination, breach of confidentiality and non-consensual HIV testing.   

In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court recognised transgender people as a distinct gender. In 2018, the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults. Despite this, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men remain extremely marginalised and face widespread stigma and discrimination.  

Abortion is legal. It is permitted on social and economic grounds as well as for health reasons.  

Another achievement is that the biggest reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people with HIV worldwide is in India (a 83% reduction since 2010). 

However, challenges remain. The highest HIV prevalence rates are in the north-eastern part of India, in Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur. Moreover, HIV-related stigma remains an issue for all people with HIV. In 2016, the most recent data available, around one-third of people in India had discriminatory views towards people with HIV. 

Next: At a glance: HIV in Nepal

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