Changing HIV epidemic in north-eastern India and its relationship with development and programmatic indicators

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Although there has been significant reduction in HIV prevalence and new HIV infections in India, some of the low/moderate prevalence states have been showing long term increase in HIV prevalence and new HIV infections. Assam, a state in northeast India is one such low HIV prevalence state where HIV prevalence and new HIV infections have almost doubled in the last few years. This study examined the trend of HIV prevalence across districts/regions of Assam and its association with developmental and program indicators. Materials and Methods: A retrospective descriptive analysis of secondary data from the National AIDS Control Program, Census of India-2011, and District Level Household and Facility Survey-3 was conducted. The time period covered under the secondary data analysis was 2007 to 2012. Correlation and Chi-square for trend tests were also used in this paper. Results: During 2007 and 2012, HIV positivity (%) increased relatively in North Assam (46.9%) followed by South Assam (11.5%) while there has been a relative decline in West Assam (-51.5%). Correlation analysis showed statistically significant association between HIV prevalence and female literacy, population using mobile phone, population using internet, women (15–49 years) seeking treatment for any STI/RTI, proportion of brothel based FSWs, FSWs having < 5 clients per week and proportion of condom utilized annually. Conclusion: Program efforts in the state should be focus on the districts with increasing HIV prevalence. Emphasis should be given in planning strategies to address the program gaps among the high risk and vulnerable populations in the state.