New HIV Infections Drop 20 Percent in Asia-Pacific
August 26, 2011
The latest UNAIDS report on Asia-Pacific shows that annual new HIV infections there dropped from about 450,000 in 2001 to 360,000 in 2009, a decline of 20 percent.
"I think it is very important to make the world understand that we are at the crossroads today in Asia and the Pacific, because efforts have been made," UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said at the report's release in Pusan, South Korea. Governments have invested in prevention programs and increased access to antiretroviral drugs, said the agency.
The region has some 4.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS, most of them in Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Vietnam. In particular, Burma, Cambodia, India, and Thailand have significantly reduced their infection rates by initiating programs for sex workers and their clients, UNAIDS noted.
However, "We cannot be complacent," Sidibe cautioned. "In Asia particularly we are seeing a growing number of infections among most-at-risk populations."
Though access to antiretroviral therapy increased three-fold from 2006 to 2009, the treatment remains unavailable to approximately 60 percent of people in need across the region. And while countries such as China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Samoa, and Thailand largely fund their own HIV/AIDS programs, many less-developed Asian nations continue to rely on outside aid, said UNAIDS.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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