New Delhi: Home to the world’s third largest AIDS population, India witnessed a 50 per cent dip in the number of new cases registered annually.

According to the latest United Nations report on AIDS, the number of new infections has come down from 24, 000 per year in the starting of the decade to 12, 000 per year at present.

"The world has started to reverse the spread of HIV, the investments are paying off," UNAIDS India coordinator Charles Gilks said releasing the report.

Every day, more than 7,000 individuals become newly infected with HIV, more than twice the number of those who start anti-retroviral therapy each day.

More than 25 million people have died from AIDS and over 33 million are living with the deadly infection, the report highlights.
"We need to focus on bringing the figures down to zero in infection, deaths and discrimination," he said.

Executive Director of the AIDS 2031 project Heidi Larson pointed out that the figures were highly uneven and focused intervention was needed to deal with the problems.

"We need to be more specific with the interventions and concentrate our resources, universal access is needed as far as treatment is concerned," she said.

The director highlighted that de-criminalising homosexuality in India was one of the biggest steps towards reducing transfer of AIDS among the homosexuals.

Gilks also stressed on making the programme more gender sensitive as more women were becoming prey to the diseases.

According to the latest figures from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), total estimated number of HIV/AIDS patients in India was 2.4 million in 2009.