AIDS SCARE IS MISLEADING
Times of India 27 May 2001
New Delhi -- In 1998 National AIDS Control Organisation and UNAIDS
predicted there were about three to four million HIV positive persons in
* In December 1998 a parliamentary standing committee reported there
were about 8.5 million identified HIV cases in the country.
* In June 1999 a group of NRI students surveyed parts of India and said
there were seven million full-blown AIDS patients and 16 million HIV
* In September 1999 UN secretary general said during a UN session there
were 8.5 million HIV cases.
* In November 1999 high commissioner to Britain said there were 8.5
million HIV positive persons in India.
And now, NACO, in its latest report Combating HIV/AIDS in India -
1990-2000 says there are about 3.89 million HIV cases in the country.
Thus, leaving a big question mark at the sudden decrease in numbers. On
how have the number of cases reduced so dramatically - from 8.5 million
to 3.89 million? Are the present figures correct or the previous ones?
And if the numbers are exaggerated, who is behind it and what is the
purpose? In fact, these were some of the questions a non-governmental
organisation Joint Action Council Kannur raised during a press
conference on Saturday.
"A false scare of AIDS is being created in the country,'' Purushottaman
Mulloli of JACK said. "Perhaps pharmaceutical companies are behind
this,'' he alleged.
"Till date there has not been a realistic estimate of the extent of
prevalence of the disease. Even the number of deaths reported of AIDS do
not indicate a high prevalence,'' he said.
Quoting the answer to a question raised in the parliament in 2000 by MP
Prabhu Nath Singh from Bihar, Mulloli said: "In 1997, 257 persons died
of AIDS. In the subsequent year about 265 persons died and in 1999 the
number of dead came down to 214. So many more people die in our country
from other causes. Then why is HIV/AIDS being made to appear as the
deadliest of all infections?''
He also questioned the efficacy of Elisa kit used to test HIV. "This
kit is completely inaccurate. In fact this kit will show a positive
result for 70 other infections. There have been instances when an HIV
negative person was tested positive and ostracised from society.''
However, he said that there is a confirmatory test to detect HIV "It is
called the Western Blot test but this is hardly used by the agencies
carrying out HIV tests. Even a PCR test (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is
not reliable for detecting this virus in the blood,'' he said.