News / Asia

Suu Kyi Boosts Fight Against HIV During Australia Visit

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi makes a speech at the launch of the AIDS 2014 world conference in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 1, 2013.
Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi makes a speech at the launch of the AIDS 2014 world conference in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 1, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Phil Mercer
— Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has highlighted progress in the battle against HIV in a World AIDS Day event in Australia.  The Burmese democracy leader is a U.N. Aids Goodwill Ambassador.  Australian campaigners say Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit is helping to boost international efforts to eradicate HIV.

​About 34 million people around the world are HIV positive, but global rates of infection are gradually falling.  New cases among adults and children were estimated at 2.3 million in 2012, which is a reduction of a third in a decade.

Aung San Suu Kyi is part of international efforts to combat the stigma and discrimination that often surrounds the disease.  Her appearance in Melbourne has officially started the countdown to the 20th International AIDS Conference that the southern Australian city will host next July. 

A daughter takes care of her HIV suffering mother as she rests in an HIV/AIDS shelter on the outskirts of Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 30, 2013.A daughter takes care of her HIV suffering mother as she rests in an HIV/AIDS shelter on the outskirts of Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 30, 2013.
x
A daughter takes care of her HIV suffering mother as she rests in an HIV/AIDS shelter on the outskirts of Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 30, 2013.
A daughter takes care of her HIV suffering mother as she rests in an HIV/AIDS shelter on the outskirts of Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 30, 2013.
In Aung San Suu Kyi's home country, Burma, 200,000 people live with HIV and AIDS. Most are drug users, sex workers or gay men who live on the fringes of society without adequate treatment.

But in Australia, doctors said the number of new cases was at a 20-year high.  Young gay men are most at risk; a group that seems to be ignoring decades of public health advice.  Researchers say it is a trend that is being seen in many parts of the world.

Every day, about three Australians contract HIV, mostly through unsafe sex. 

Professor Sharon Lewin is the director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

“We currently know that there are 25,000 people living with HIV in Australia.  Last year there were 1,200 new infections and in fact it's the highest number of new infections that we've seen for 20 years in Australia.  And the causes we're still determining but it is most likely related to increasing high-risk behavior; probably some complacency about the seriousness of the diagnosis,” said Lewin.

AIDS deaths, global, 2001-2012AIDS deaths, global, 2001-2012
x
AIDS deaths, global, 2001-2012
AIDS deaths, global, 2001-2012
Without treatment, doctors said HIV was “a universal death sentence,” but modern therapies were effective and easy to administer.  They often involve just one tablet a day that contains three anti-HIV medicines.

Access to clean needles in Australia has sharply reduced the spread of the disease among people who inject drugs.  The policy was introduced in the early 1980s.  Australia’s success is in sharp contrast to Thailand, where up to 50 percent of intravenous drugs users are HIV positive.

World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 in more than 120 countries.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: nguyen manh hung from: viet nam
December 02, 2013 5:11 AM
It is very kind of the leader ,Suu Kyi.She protested against army governent and at last won,take country to democracy.From now on,burmeses live in religion free,speech free and so on,while vietnamese are ruled by communists who are very cruel ,bloody.We are very miserable,I HOpe that one day communists willbe knocked out of Viet Nam

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid