The UN and WHO cut their estimates of the number of people with HIV to 6.3 million, after a revision by India. The latest estimates show these are 33.2 million with HIV globally. It is 16% less than the 39.5 million it estimated in 2006 clearly showing that the global burden of HIV till now was highly overstated.
According to the experts the revision of figures was primarily due to India and five other countries-Angola,Kenya,Mozambique,Nigeria and Zimbabwe lowering their prevalence rates from the earlier high numbers.
In July 2006, India announced that there were 2.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS ,about 2.7million fewer cases previously estimated. India's HIV prevalence figures in the general population also dipped to .36% against .9% making India the worst affected country with the deadly disease after South Africa 5.5million and Nigeria 2.9 million.
What made the difference was the methodology used by India in 2006-the estimates referred as closest to the truth was reached after studying the data from the country's 1,122 sentinel surveillance sites as against the 155 such sites in 1998.A massive sero-prevalence study testing 1.5 lakh random blood samples from 29 states also gave information about India's actual burden of HIV.
According to Mr.Peter Piot UNAIDS executive director the single biggest reason for the reduction in global HIV prevalence figures was the recent revision in India after an intensive reassessment of the epidemic in that country. These improved data presents us with a clearer picture of the AIDS epidemic one that reveals both challenges and opportunities.
However the revamped estimates still represent a massive human tragedy. AIDS remains the fourth biggest killer nationwide. Every day in 2007,more than 6,800 people were infected with HIV. Women made up half of those infected. Over 5700 died from it every day. An estimated 1.7 lakh people died of the disease in India alone last year.
Further according to Dr Broun UNAIDS chief in India it is nearly impossible to conduct NFHS III like surveys all over the world. Such surveys are high cost with NFHS III HIV study costing nearly $ 14 million. That's why we have taken such surveys into account and then mathematical models to come up with new figures.
2/3 of new infections were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007.In Asia there are now 4.9 million cases up 440,000 from the last year. The UN has also changed its estimate on how long it takes to die of AIDS if not treated from 9 years to 11 years.