Sat 1Nov2014

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Why are AIDS drugs unaffordable in India?

By K M Gopakumar

The big question facing HIV-positive people in India is access to affordable antiretroviral drugs. Already, second-line drugs cost over Rs 1 lakh per person per year in India, compared to approximately Rs 50,000 in 66 other developing countries

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Prevention of HIV transmission: Do we know what works and what doesn't?

By Mariette Correa

We know that HIV prevalence has stabilised or dropped in some parts of the country and amongst certain groups of the population. We know, for instance, that prevalence amongst female sex workers in Maharashtra has dropped from over 54% to 23%. And that prevalence in the general population in Tamil Nadu has dropped from 1% to .5%. But do we know why? An analysis of prevention efforts in India, the successes and failures, throws up more questions than answers

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Falling through the cracks: PPTCT in India

By Maya Indira Ganesh

Parent to child transmission of HIV in India infects 56,700 children every year. The third phase of the National AIDS Control Programme aims to reach 7.5 million women and give prophylactic treatment to 75,600 infected mother-baby pairs. The task is ambitious: in 2005, just 2.9 million women were reached, though the target was 6.9 million

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Do we need a separate law on HIV/AIDS?

By Kajal Bharadwaj

Stigma and discrimination lead to the most significant human rights violations for persons living with HIV/AIDS and are the greatest barriers to preventing further infection and providing care, support and treatment. But India has no existing legislation which would cover discrimination on the grounds of HIV. And the framework of public health legislation is too limited to adequately cover HIV issues

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Is premarital HIV testing feasible - or desirable?

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

Three states are considering legislation on compulsory HIV testing before registration of marriage. Public health activists, however, point out that premarital counselling and life skills education, not compulsory testing, are more likely to ensure behavioural change. Such a law might end up increasing the social ostracisation of the HIV-positive, adversely affecting women, the very group the law sets out to protect

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What are the challenges in conducting clinical trials for an HIV vaccine?

By Sandhya Srinivasan

India recently completed its first clinical trial for an HIV candidate, a Phase 1 safety trial at the National AIDS Research Institute, Pune. A second Phase 1 trial is ongoing at the Tuberculosis Research Centre (TRC), Chennai. Sanjay Mehendale, Deputy Director of the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), discusses the logistical and ethical issues involved in running a trial for an HIV vaccine

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