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By the end of 2017, there were an estimated 21.4 lakh people living with HIV (PLHIV) in India, according to the HIV estimations 2017 report released recently by National AIDS Control Organisation and ICMR-National Institute of Medical Statistics, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

The adult (15-49 years) HIV prevalence was 0.22%. As many as 11.81 lakh people are on anti-retroviral treatment in the country said the report.

December 1 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. This day focuses on spreading awareness and eradicating the stigma associated with the disease. World AIDS Day was founded by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter in 1987. The purpose of this day is to educate people about how to avoid catching the disease, to reduce the stigma surrounding those who live with it, and to raise money for research and development.

Each year, the campaign has a specific theme. The theme for this year is “Know your status.” Last year, the World AIDS Day theme was “My Health, My Right.”

Despite tremendous progress, the AIDS epidemic is not yet over, Indian Council of Medical Research officials said.

According to the report, the latest update on the status of AIDS from 1981 to 2017 in 35 states and UTs in India has said that there is an overall decline in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in India. There were 87,590 new HIV infections and 69,110 AIDS-related deaths in 2017.

While the new infections are declining nationally, there are inter-state variations. In five states – Arunachal Pradesh (65%), Assam (37%), Mizoram (18%), Meghalaya (10%) and Uttarakhand (4%) – new infections increased in 2017 in comparison to 2010. The HIV incidence among the general population is low across states, except for a few; it is much higher among High-Risk Groups.

Eastern Europe continues to account for the large majority of the 160,000 people newly infected with HIV in the WHO European Region with little signs of improvement.

People around the world show solidarity to the cause of HIV awareness by wearing a red ribbon. This symbol of awareness originated in New York in 1991, when there was extreme discrimination against HIV positive patients. It was the brainchild of 12 artists working with an HIV awareness organization, who collectively realized the need for a project for Visual Aid.

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