India has allocated almost 70 percent of its national HIV budget to prevention, focusing on high-risk sexual behavior and injecting drug use, the main drivers of the nation’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. So report Mariam Claeson and Ashok Alexander in the July/August issue of Health Affairs, a thematic volume on health in China and India.

“There are no real ‘innovations’ in India’s approach to HIV planning, but, rather, sound policy making: investment in good data to inform decisions; analysis of the data to determine the epidemic drivers; and comprehensive plans for scaling up known interventions directed at those populations with the behavior that is responsible for the most exposure to HIV, without moral undertones. The world has much to learn from India’s approach,” say Claeson, a program coordinator at the World Bank, and Alexander, the director of Avahan, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s anti-HIV/AIDS initiative in India.

Kees Kostermans, Claeson’s colleague at the World Bank, discussed the Claesson-Alexander paper at the National Press Club release event for the July/August issue and during a Webinar on some of the India-related content in the issue.

The Claeson-Alexander paper is one of two articles dealing with HIV/AIDS in Health Affairs‘ July/August issue. In the second paper, Renslow Sherer and coauthors describe a partnership between Hubei Province in China and Project HOPE to build capacity for HIV care. From 2004 to 2006, 78 Chinese “master trainers” were trained, who in turn trained and mentored 8,759 health workers. During this period, as free antiretrovirals were introduced, measures of physician competence in HIV care improved considerably and annual AIDS mortality fell from 49 percent to 8.8 percent, according to Sherer and colleagues. Sherer is a clinical associate at the University of Chicago and a senior technical advisor for Project HOPE, which publishes Health Affairs.

The XVII International AIDS Conference is now taking place in Mexico. Live and archived sessions are available for viewing courtesy of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.