Last edited: July 13, 2004

AIDS Denial Leading to Crisis in India, July 4, 2004

By Newscenter Staff

New Delhi—Shocking new statistics showing the number of HIV/AIDS cases in India has risen above 5 million are leading to accusations the government is dragging its feet in combating the spread of AIDS in the subcontinent.

The new numbers put India just slightly below South Africa, the country with the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the world.

Even though the statistics indicate there were 520,000 new cases in 2003 the numbers were lower than in the preceding year. Nevertheless, the number of people being treated for full blown AIDS is rising the state-run National AIDS Control Organization said Sunday.

While the government maintains the drop in new infections in 2003 is proof that its anti-AIDS approach is working AIDS activists accuse the Indian government of complacency.

Last year for the first time the government launched a massive anti-AIDS campaign, but little information is reaching the country’s millions of poor.

The government is stressing the need for condoms, but few are distributed, and even then they go to more affluent areas.

Activists also accuse the government of refusing to acknowledge the need for a frank open discussion of gay sex. Homosexual acts remain illegal in India and most gays are underground.

Last week the World Bank accused India and other South Asian nations of sweeping their HIV/AIDS problems under the carpet warning that the region would be devastated by an African-like crisis unless swift action is taken.

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