News / Health

UN Calls for Acceleration of HIV Treatment in Asia-Pacific Nations

A man has a sample of blood taken by a nurse for testing at the HIV/AIDS ward of Beijing YouAn Hospital. The number of new HIV/AIDS cases in China is soaring, with rates of infections among college students and older men rising. The Chinese Center for Dis
A man has a sample of blood taken by a nurse for testing at the HIV/AIDS ward of Beijing YouAn Hospital. The number of new HIV/AIDS cases in China is soaring, with rates of infections among college students and older men rising. The Chinese Center for Dis

The United Nations is praising Asia Pacific countries for their response to the HIV/Aids epidemic, but says there are still legal and social barriers that significantly set back eradication efforts.

Monday, The U.N. Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific opened a three-day meeting lauding impressive gains in recent years in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Noeleen Heyzer, the executive secretary of U.N. ESCAP, told officials and activists from 34 Asia Pacific countries that more people than ever had access to HIV treatment. She says new HIV infections are down 20 percent since 2001 and she is expecting to meet a goal to begin to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

“Countries such as Cambodia, India, Myanmar and Thailand have successfully reduced their HIV infection rates with intensive, wide-reaching preventive programs, particularly among people who buy and sell sex,” Heyzer said.

However, Heyzer notes the gains are uneven and there are still gaps in the goal of universal access to HIV treatment.

She says the HIV epidemic is outpacing the response.  “There are still almost two new infections for every person who starts treatment. These new infections remain concentrated among key population of higher risk: People who buy and sell sex, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men and trans-gender people,” Heyzer stated.

The United Nations is urging countries to speed up efforts to curb HIV in the region.
Officials say that 90 percent of Asia Pacific countries still have barriers to treating HIV, including laws that criminalize sex workers and injection drug users. They say the measures make it difficult for those groups to seek treatment.

Many countries also reject, or even outlaw, homosexual and trans-gender people.

Fiji in 2010 became the first Pacific island nation to decriminalize homosexuality and is the only one funding its own antiretroviral treatments.  Fiji and China recently lifted travel restrictions on people infected with HIV.

Fiji President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, spoke at the Bangkok meeting Monday. He encouraged delegates to ensure adequate funding for HIV programs.

“Countries and governments have the responsibility, after all their competing priorities and commitments, to ensure that they provide funds in their national budgets in their response to HIV/AIDS. After all, it is a government’s moral responsibility to provide for the welfare of their people,” Nailatikau said.

Despite the gains made in fighting HIV/AIDS, international funding for programs in the Asia Pacific has dropped in recent years and is still declining.

The U.N. says some countries, such as China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Samoa, and Thailand, have succeeded in funding much of their own HIV programs despite the drop from foreign donors. Heyzer urged other nations in the region to follow those examples.

There are six million people in the Asia Pacific living with HIV, about 15 percent of the world total.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More