Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) belongs to family of viruses, Retroviridae that causes the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The virus infects protective cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function. As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes progressively weak and the individual becomes more susceptible to life threatening opportunistic infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The most common route of transmission of HIV infection in India is unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person, followed by mother to child transmission during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, sharing of contaminated needles, injecting drug use, and transfusion of contaminated blood.

To control the spread of HIV infection, National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), a division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India provides leadership to HIV/AIDS control programme in India through States AIDS Control Societies located in every state capital and union territory. WHO provides strategic support to NACO by providing technical assistance in the areas of scale up of ART including improving treatment quality, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, Strategic Information Management System (SIMS), HIV surveillance, etc.