Examining The HIV Epidemic In India

India, home to over 1.3 billion people, is experiencing the third largest HIV epidemic in the world. According to UNAIDS, there are 2.1 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the country, with only half of those people accessing antiretroviral therapy. Fenway Health, through the work of The Fenway Institute, has been involved in helping to build up the capacity to address the epidemic in India for the past twenty years. Over this time, Fenway has partnered with YRGCARE, a Chennai community-based organization that cares for 15,000 people living with HIV, and the Humsafar Trust, the largest LGBT health organization in India.

As part of this ongoing work, Dr. Kenneth Mayer of The Fenway Institute spoke on antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) at the Chennai ART Symposium in India on May 1. During this discussion Dr. Mayer highlighted the use of antiretrovirals for HIV prevention in men who have sex with men and transgender people in the era of treatment as prevention.

ART as prevention has been proven to be an effective method. Further advancing HIV prevention methods requires a combination of testing and linkage to care, as well as prevention via PrEP. Dr. Mayer has years of experience in implementing PrEP in various settings and highlighted that work during his presentation, along with the current challenges and gaps in PrEP implementation. It is our hope that by continuing this international conversation, India will see many more people living with HIV accessing ART, and PrEP use will increase across the country.

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