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Indian State Of Jammu And Kashmir Avoids Grim AIDS Predictions

When the only community health care center providing medical and psychosocial care for people living with HIV/AIDS in India’s northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir “closed down [six months ago] for lack of patients, it was a sure sign that the north Indian state had beaten back dire forecasts,” Inter Press Service reports.

Currently, 2,787 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) reside in the state, which has a population of 12.5 million people, a figure that “contrast[s] sharply with grim projections made by the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) in 2002-2003 that some 40,000 people would be infected with HIV within two years in Jammu and Kashmir and that 20,000 people would die of AIDS by 2015,” IPS writes. However, “[t]he low and declining rates have not made life easier for PLHWA because of the strong social stigma attached to the disease and difficulties in accessing antiretroviral drugs,” the news service notes (Altaf, 9/13).