To celebrate and reflect on the progress of HIV vaccine research and development in India, the International AIDS Vaccine initiative (IAVI), organised a panel discussion titled "HIV under the Microscope: The Quest for a Vaccine", in the capital, on the occasion of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day – May 18.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr KS Sachdeva, Deputy Director General, NACO, said, "Advocacy for HIV is in the evolutionary stage. This is one disease where the social context is more relevant that the treatment context. Standing at an inflexion point one can say that much has been achieved. We are close to almost eliminating HIV/AIDS."
However, emphasising on the need for a vaccine, Dr Sachdeva added, "Despite the programme advancement, vaccine will remain important. You never know when the disease can resurface. Vaccine itself is the most effective prevention tool."
In 2015, HIV prevalence in India was an estimated 0.26 per cent of total population. India has almost 2.1 million people living with HIV. Good news is that India's HIV epidemic is slowing down, with a 32 per cent decline in new HIV infections (86,000 in 2015), and a 54 per cent decline in AIDS-related deaths between 2007 and 2015.