The human immunodeficiency virus epidemic in India: Current magnitude and future projections

Robert C Bollinger, Sriram P. Tripathy, Thomas C Quinn

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Since the first case of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was documented in India in 1986, there has been an explosive increase in HIV transmission. In this review we describe the chronology of the HIV epidemic in India, preliminary information about the clinical presentation of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the biological and behavioral aspects of HIV transmission in the Indian setting, and projections regarding the future of the HIV epidemic in India. Using recent data obtained by searching the computerized literature and published abstracts, conference proceedings, and publications from the government of India, we show that India is experiencing a major epidemic of HIV transmission in high-risk populations of commercial sex workers, sexually transmitted disease clinic patients, intravenous drug users, and commercial blood donors. There is also evidence of recent spread of the epidemic from these high-risk groups to other risk groups in India, and from urban centers to rural populations. It is estimated that 1.6 million people are currently infected with HIV in India. At the present rate of transmission, India will have the largest number of HIV-infected individuals of any country in the world by the end of this decade, with more than 5 million infected individuals. Because limited data are available, comprehensive and well-designed epidemiologic surveys are urgently needed to adequately characterize the HIV epidemic in India and to help implement targeted and effective educational and prevention-oriented programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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