India Tuesday announced that the country had witnessed a sharp decline in the number of new HIV cases -- a 56 percent drop -- in the past 10 years.
"HIV infections have declined by 56 percent during the last decade from 2.7 lakh in 2000 to 1.2 lakh in 2009 in our country," Indian Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the national capital.
"This has been possible due to political support at the highest levels to the various interventions under National AIDS Control Programme, including Parliamentarians and elected leaders at the state and local levels and cooperation received from NGOs, civil society, etc." the minister said while addressing an international HIV vaccine symposium.
Expressing similar sentiments, Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Ashwani Kumar said that the government believes that the new HIV infections could be significantly reduced if effective prevention programs are expanded and reach those at greatest risk of HIV infection.
In fact, HIV -- which causes AIDS -- was detected in India nearly 25 years back.
Though more than 2 million people are affected by the virus, India is said to be one of the few countries which has actually made significant reductions in HIV infections. The country's HIV- AIDS prevention model has been even lauded by United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.