CDC opened an office in India in 2001 to assist India’s Department of AIDS Control (DAC) in the fight against a concentrated HIV epidemic affecting most-at-risk populations such as intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and commercial sex workers. Sexual transmission accounts for the vast majority of HIV incidence with prevalence varying across states in India. CDC’s efforts to address the epidemic include HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, workforce capacity building, and strategic information activities.
Strengthening Surveillance and Health Information Systems
CDC is a leading partner in national HIV surveillance efforts. A key element of the HIV/AIDS National Program is a single monitoring and evaluation system for data driven decision-making to support effective approaches in halting and reversing India’s HIV epidemic. CDC works with partners to design, implement, and evaluate HIV strategic information systems and to provide training for the use of data needed for HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs.
Building Capacity for Laboratory Systems
CDC supports the implementation of quality assurance/control measures for HIV testing in national and state reference laboratories in India. CDC trains the in-country laboratory workforce and supports host country quality assurance efforts around blood safety and early infant diagnosis.
Addressing Gender Issues
CDC helps ensure that prevention, care, and treatment efforts address gender norms with activities that focus on sexual and spousal relations, empowerment, HIV awareness, HIV stigma reduction, and community mobilization in partnership with community partners.
Key Activities and Accomplishments
Laboratory Quality Assessment:
CDC has collaborated with India’s DAC in the quality assessment of all national and state HIV reference laboratories over two cycles in the past two years. In response to the technical needs identified in these laboratories, CDC has engaged in a series of regional workshops for writing quality manuals, equipment calibration and biosafety, quality systems essentials, laboratory planning, and risk management.
National Surveillance Systems:
CDC partnered with India’s DAC and other local partners in planning for and monitoring the implementation of HIV Annual Sentinel Surveillance. CDC provided technical assistance (TA) for the training process and for standardizing training materials across the country. CDC played a key role in providing TA for the first nationwide integrated biological and behavioral surveillance of key populations.
National Health Information System:
CDC supported the roll-out of a national Strategic Information Management System (a web-based monitoring and evaluation system that captures data at district and state-levels to help guide program-level decision making).