In 2007, UNAIDS revised the prevalence data for India based on new survey data. As of late 2007, UNAIDS estimates that India has 2.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, less than half of the 2006 estimate. In fact, the correction of India’s estimated HIV prevalence was the major reason for the 16% reduction of estimated people with HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2007. In the 2007 report, UNAIDS estimated that there were 33.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, 16% less than the estimate from 2006 (39.5 million). From the 2007 UNAIDS report:
The major elements of methodological improvements in 2007 included greater understanding of HIV epidemiology through population-based surveys, extension of sentinel surveillence to more sites, and adjustments to mathematical models from better understanding of the natural history of untreated HIV infections in low and middle-income countries. Although prevalence has stabilized, continuing new infections (even at a reduced rate) contributed to the estimated number of people living with HIV. HIV prevalence tends to reduce slowly over time as new infections decline and through the death of HIV-infected people; it can increase through continuing HIV incidence and through reduced mortality of HIV-infected people on ARV treatment.
Steinbrook’s essays on HIV also say that the tradition of female sterilization as a form of contraception in India is a barrier to HIV prevention efforts. In many Indian States more than 50% of woman use sterilization as a method of family planning before they turn 30, the article says. It is nearly impossible for sterilized women to negotiate for condom use. The article quotes Broun of UNAIDS, who says “In Africa, a woman who is not pregnant is probably using condoms as a method of contraception, so is therefore also protected against HIV. In India, a woman who is not pregnant is probably a woman who has been sterilized and her behavior toward HIV is not known. “