HIV/AIDS: Epidemic Spreads In Asia-Pacific Region, U.N. Warns

The spread of HIV/AIDS is accelerating in Asian and Pacific countries despite preventive efforts, making the region's 6.6 million cases at the end of 2001 the world's second-largest after sub-Saharan Africa, said Sandro Calvani, chairman of the U.N. Subregional Theme Group on HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, today in Bangkok.

"Today, no country in this region is immune to a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic," Calvani told a ceremony to launch the annual Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, before the 14th International AIDS Conference, to be held July 7-12 in

Last year, the region saw 1 million new cases, the report says, adding that HIV prevalence among people between 15 and 49 in Thailand and Cambodia is still above 1 percent and Myanmar has probably already reached that rate.  India has nearly 4 million people living with HIV/AIDS, the largest population worldwide besides South Africa.  Cambodia meanwhile has cut the rate from 4 percent in 1999 to 2.7 percent last year, while the number of Thailand's annual HIV/AIDS infections has decreased from 143,000 to 29,000 since 1991.

The U.N. report recommends the region make long-term preparations against HIV/AIDS, focus prevention programs on young people, provide access to comprehensive treatment for HIV/AIDS patients and address social and economic factors behind the epidemic, Calvani said (Xinhua News Agency, July 2).


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