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Home > News > PTI

Over five million HIV cases in India

December 08, 2004 15:53 IST

The number of estimated cases of HIV/AIDS has touched a whopping 5.1 million and a reassessment of the country's status is likely to be made in the next eight to ten months, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

However, known cases of AIDS are only 91,080 as the practice before 1998 was to report only known AIDS cases, Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said during question hour.

Asked whether government was contemplating steps to make blood test mandatory before marriage, he said since this is a social issue, which required a wider view and a national consensus. "At present, only voluntary testing is allowed," he added.

Tamil Nadu topped the list of known AIDS cases registering 40,214, followed by Maharashtra with 18,494 and Andhra Pradesh with 9,549.

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To another question on whether Indian patients were being used as 'guinea pigs' by multinational companies to test their medicines, he pointed out that an ethical committee was already in place to prevent such trials and norms and procedures were being made more stringent and fool-proof.

"Politics of the MNCs was going on. We want to provide the best quality medicines at affordable rates and will take all steps to protect Indian patients."

A massive nationwide awareness campaign would be carried out for the next eight months and the health ministry has requested the human resources development ministry to make HIV/AIDS part of the public health curriculum in schools.

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