Are HIV programmes missing the young who need them the most ?

Bobby Ramakant – CNS
Contd from previous issue
HIV prevalence among persons who inject drugs is 6.26%, 3.14% among transgender community (including Hijra), 2.69% among gay men and other men who have sex with men, 2.10% among prison inmates, and 1.56% among female sex workers. If we are to progress towards ending AIDS, we have to strengthen HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for the key populations on priority,” said Dr Ishwar Gilada, who represents Asia Pacific region at the Governing Council of International AIDS Society (IAS), and is the President of AIDS Society of India (ASI).
HIV prevention must not slip off the radar
Almost half of new HIV infections in young people in the Asia Pacific region in 2020 were among gay men and other men who have sex with men. But less than 25% of young gay men and other men who have sex with men and young people who inject drugs, received prevention services to protect themselves and other people from HIV.
“We really need to find out what are we lacking [in HIV programme], why are we still falling behind? Why are the new HIV infections not declining steeply, especially in the young key populations?” rightly questions Applesta.
Legal and policy coherence is missing
Applesta said that legal and policy coherence is vital to achieve across the region to progress on public health and other sustainable development agenda.
“We are aware that adolescents as young as 13 or 14 years may be sexually active,” said Applesta. But if they wish to get a HIV test then they need their parent or legal guardian’s consent in India.       (To be contd)