Mumbai: Rising levels of awareness on the spread of HIV/Aids in India have certainly brought down the rate of new infections even as the disease is now viewed as a chronic problem like diabetes or hypertension, a medical expert has said.

"People are not only taking various precautions and but those affected by it are [resorting] to the affordable drugs available to treat this disease," Dr I.S. Gilada of People's Health Organisation and honorary Secretary of Aids Society of India, said.

He added that statistics revealed that new infection rates in Pune were almost down by 70 per cent, due to strong intervention programmes.

According to Unaids statistics, India's nearly 2.4 million infected people account for almost half of Asia's cases of 4.7 million people living with HIV in 2008.

In some states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, HIV prevalence among 15- to 24-year-old women attending ante-natal clinics declined by 54 per cent between 2006 and 2007. However, the proportion of women living with HIV in the region increased from 19 per cent in 2000 to 35 per cent in 2008.