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June 11, 2011

70K children infected by HIV in India!

KOLKATA: According to a recent study by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), at least 70,000 children are infected with deadly HIV in India & in most of the cases it is caused by the parent-to-child-transmission (PTCT).
The study said that very small portion of children is infected by other source like unsafe injections & blood transfusions. Participants of a UNICEF-state AIDS Prevention & Control Society seminar here said, quoting NACO estimates, that a small proportion of these children are infected by unsafe injections & blood transfusions. 

"UNICEF supports the government in its effort to halt & reverse the HIV/AIDS outbreak in India to reduce the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children," the country chief of UNICEF, HIV & AIDS, Ivonne Camaroni told PTI on the sidelines of the seminar yesterday.

Around 21,000 children in the country are infected every year through PTCT. The UNICEF wanted to provide strategic supplies of drugs & commodities, improve the capacity of staff by developing innovative communication approaches for prevention, care & helping to improve monitoring plus reporting systems.  

The UNICEF chief (HIV & AIDS) of India, Ivonne Camaroni said that the Organisation has been trying to reduce the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children. Children used to get infected with AIDS due to the factors like mother-to-child transmission, blood transfusion & HIV positive mothers because the prevention facility is not available during the pregnancy.

An UNICEF official said, "In West Bengal, UNICEF tied up with the organisation 'Bengal Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS' for a study which surveyed 995 HIV affected families."  The survey was on families who were HIV positive & 've HIV/AIDS infected or exposed children, another UNICEF official added.

The number of children affected with HIV was high in districts like North & South 24 Parganas, Kolkata, East Midnapore, Jalpaiguri & Darjeeling. Economic profile of the families show that 72.3% fall in the BPL category, with most belonging to the unorganised sector & daily wage earners.

"The report findings give us a glimpse into the harsh reality faced by the families & children living with HIV & AIDS," said UNICEF West Bengal chief Lori Calvo. The finding showed that 29% of fathers & 33% of mothers of the surveyed children were illiterate. Camaroni said, "The study underscores the need to improve existing services in terms of access to appropriate medicine, nutrition & additional services like free transportation based on the socio-economic condition of the families." 

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