In Delhi: Sudip Mozumder +91-11-41479210
In Washington: Erik Nora (202) 458 4735
Washington, April 26, 2007 – The World Bank approved today a US$250 million credit to support India’s National AIDS Control Program (NACP) in its efforts to curb the spread and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS in the country. The Third National HIV/AIDS Control Project is designed to improve prevention programs, and amplify care, support, and treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Government of India has embarked on an ambitious goal of halting and reversing the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2011, ahead of the 2015 target of the 6th Millennium Development Goal. It has developed and enhanced its response to the epidemic over the last two decades. This sustained commitment has yielded many benefits, including an effective blood safety program, increased numbers of clinics to treat sexually transmitted diseases and voluntary counseling and testing centers for HIV, special interventions among groups at highest risk of HIV, establishment of prevention of parent to child transmission services and care, support and treatment services for people living with HIV.
- Prevention is the top priority of the project. Aims to reach 80 percent of high-risk groups over a five-year period.
- Will support scaling up of interventions in highly vulnerable sub-sections of society such as long distance truckers and short duration migrant workers.
- Will provide treatment, care and support to people living with the disease is a key component of the project
- Aims to strengthen and develop skills within NACO, the State AIDS Control Societies and NGOs associated with the program
- A common and comprehensive M&E system will be supported
However with estimated cases of adult infection reaching 5.2 million in 2005 (as reported by the national surveillance system), significant challenges remain. “Despite these impressive achievements, HIV and AIDS remains a serious threat to India’s health gains,” said Isabel Guerrero, World Bank Country Director for India.“This project is important because it will support the government’s scaling up of prevention, care, support and treatment interventions nationwide. While the disease is concentrated among high risk groups, increasing HIV prevalence among women and in rural areas points to generalized epidemics in some states.
With 99 percent of the population still uninfected, prevention is the top priority of the project. The project aims to reach 80 percent of people at highest risk over a five-year period. It will support scaling up of interventions to reduce unsafe sex among sex workers and their clients and reduce HIV transmission among injecting drug users, and among highly vulnerable mobile populations.
In many parts of the country, prevention efforts to reduce HIV prevalence among groups with high risk behavior have not achieved full coverage. “The epidemic is clustered in certain geographical areas,” said Suneeta Singh, World Bank Lead Public Health Specialist and project co-task team leader. “Six states, representing 30 percent of India’s population already have what is considered to be a high prevalence of HIV. It is absolutely essential to strengthen programs that target the most marginalized groups at high risk of infection to prevent the disease from spreading further.”
India is also discovering the visible face of the epidemic with a significant number of people living with HIV and AIDS. Hence providing treatment, care and support to people living with the disease is a key component of the project. NACP began providing free anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in high prevalence states in April 2004 and now has over 80,000 persons on treatment. It is estimated that during the project period, care and support services will be provided to 380,000 people living with HIV and AIDS; and ART to 340,000 persons, 40,000 of which are children.
The project also aims to undertake strengthening and skills development within NACO, the State AIDS Control Societies and of NGOs associated with the program to better carry out the task of instituting good quality, greatly scaled up interventions in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and mainstreaming a response to HIV through other ministries and the private sector. A comprehensive M&E system will be supported, making in time information available for better management of the program.
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For more information about the World Bank’s work in India, please visit http://www.worldbank.org/in
For more information about the World Bank’s work on HIV/AIDS in South Asia, please visit http://www.worldbank.org/saraids