Chinese, Indian Governments Should Ramp Up Efforts to Combat HIV/AIDS, HHS Secretary Says
March 23, 2004
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Monday said that the governments of China and India "need to do more" to combat the countries' HIV/AIDS epidemics to avoid serious impact on their societies and economies, AFP/Channel News Asia reports. Thompson, speaking at a one-day conference on HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases in Asia hosted by the U.S.-based Asia Society and the Japan Centre for International Exchange, said, "We need to get India and China much more focused on the problems of AIDS within their countries." Thompson added that Asia's recent experiences with outbreaks of avian flu and SARS demonstrate that in "today's interconnected global economy, the spread of disease can shake business confidence and disrupt entire regional economics." He said that the epidemic facing Asia could make the HIV/AIDS situation in Africa appear to be "minimal" if the spread of the disease is not halted, adding that he was "particularly concerned about China." Thompson said, "In a country with more than a billion people, even a small increase in the percentage of the population affected could strike down millions of our fellow men, women and children" (AFP/Channel News Asia, 3/22). There are approximately 4.58 million people living with HIV/AIDS in India, a number second only to South Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/4). The Chinese government estimates that there are 840,000 HIV-positive people in the country and that 80,000 people have AIDS; however, some experts believe that those figures are an underestimate. The United Nations estimates that there are at least one million HIV-positive people in China, and that number could grow to 20 million people by 2010 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/15).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.