Time Running Out in Asia's Battle Against AIDS: UN
August 2, 2002
Time is running out for Asia in its battle to contain an emerging AIDS epidemic, warned UNAIDS official Werasit Sittitrai in Brunei Thursday. Werasit said Asia could surpass other regions in the number of people infected with HIV if preventive measures are not put in place.Adapted from:
"It is now recognized that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Asia and the Pacific region is at an early stage. This means that we have time, but time is running out," said Werasit at the Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS and Development. The forum, launched while regional foreign ministers are meeting to discuss security and development issues, aims to help national and community leaders fight the disease.
"In the next few years, if we cannot contain the epidemic, the size of infected and affected populations in this region will dwarf those of other regions combined," Werasit said. This would set back any economic gains. High infection rates in the region's militaries could affect national security, Werasit added.
The Leadership Forum will coordinate efforts by governments, officials, community and religious leaders as well as the private sector to fight AIDS. It will also provide them with advocacy, policy and information support, in addition to opportunities for an exchange of experiences.
UNAIDS' 2002 report said that at the end of 2001, some 6.6 million people in the Asia-Pacific region were living with HIV/AIDS, including 1 million adults and children who were newly infected with the virus that year. "One million infections means 3,000 per day, or 120 per hour ... These are shocking figures," Sandro Calvani, chair of a UN working group on HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia and the Pacific said last month in Bangkok.
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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.