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Despite being home to the world’s fourth largest population suffering from AIDS, the AIDS prevalence rate in India is relatively lower. In 2007, India’s AIDS prevalence rate stood at approximately 0.30%—the 89th highest in the world. The spread of HIV in India is primarily restricted to the southern and north-eastern regions of the country and India has also been praised for its extensive anti-AIDS campaign. The US$2.5 billion National AIDS Control Plan III was set up by India in 2007 and received support from UNAIDS The main factors which have contributed to India’s large HIV-infected population are extensive labor migration and low literacy levels in certain rural areas resulting in lack of awareness and gender disparity. The Government of India has also raised concerns about the role of intravenous drug use and prostitution in spreading AIDS, especially in north-east India and certain urban pockets. A recent study published in the British medical journal "The Lancet" in (2006) reported an approximately 30% decline in HIV infections among young women aged 15 to 24 years attending prenatal clinics in selected southern states of India from 2000 to 2004 where the epidemic is thought to be concentrated. The authors cautiously attribute observed declines to increased condom use by men who visit commercial sex workers and cite several pieces of corroborating evidence. Some efforts have been made to tailor educational literature to those with low literacy levels, mainly through local libraries as this is the most readily accessible locus of information for interested parties. Increased awareness regarding the disease and citizen’s related rights is in line with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

In 1986, the first known case of HIV was diagnosed by Dr. Suniti Solmon amongst female sex workers in Chennai. Later that year, sex workers began showing signs of this deadly disease. At that time, foreigners in India were traveling in and out of the country. It is thought that these foreigners were the ones responsible for the first infections. By 1987, about 135 more cases came to light. Among these 14 had already progressed to AIDS. Prevelance in high risk groups reached above 5% by 1990.

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