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Expanded Testing Reveals 2000 Percent Increase In Number Of HIV-Positive Indian Children

“Expanded testing across India in the past three years shows a 2,000 percent jump in the number of HIV cases among children, [Ghulam Nabi Azad] the country’s health minister announced Wednesday,” CNN reports. As of May 2009, reports found that nearly 53,000 children are living with HIV in India – up from 2,253 recorded cases in November 2006, Azad said during an address to the parliament (Singh, 7/29).

Azad attributed the majority of infections in children to mother-to-child transmission of HIV and spoke of the Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) initiative – a national program launched in 2002, the Times of India reports.  “In the year 2008, a total of 4.1 million pregnant women were counselled and tested, of whom 19,986 were found positive and 10,179 mother-baby pairs received prophylactic treatment to prevent transmission from infected mother to infant,” Azad said of PPTCT (7/29).

“The minister insisted that overall, HIV prevalence had decreased in India from 0.45 percent in 2002 to 0.34 percent in 2007,” CNN writes. Nearly 233,000 patients, including 14,474 children living with HIV/AIDS, receive free treatment at the designated facilities, according to the health minister (7/29).