In the latest United Nations assessment, Asia is reporting gains in the
fight against the HIVAIDS epidemic, thanks to more access to vital
medicines and growing public awareness, lowering rates of infection in
Burma, Cambodia and Thailand. But, as Ron Corben reports from VOA's
South East Asia Bureau other highly populated states, such as
Indonesia, Bangladesh and China, remain troubled by higher infection
The United Nations report on the Global AIDS epidemic,
released this week, says Asia's fight against the virus has had mixed
results. Some 380,000 people, cross the region, died with the disease
in 2007. An estimated five million Asians are living with the virus.
Sun Gang, from the United Nations joint team on HIVAIDS in Thailand, says the HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a threat.
2007, in the whole Asia Pacific region we have an estimated five
million people living with HIV and AIDS; the new infections coming in
the year 2007 reaching the figure of 380,000," Sun said. "This could
translate, to more than one thousand new infections everyday in the
region. So, the epidemic is not over. It's truly not over yet."
says there has been a decline in overall prevalence rates in Cambodia,
Burma and Thailand. But Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and
Pakistan reported higher rates of HIV-positive patients.
and China also report a continuing slow rise in infections. China has
an estimated 650,000 people living with AIDS. Higher prevalence rates
were reported among men who have sex with men within the region.
U.N. report says high-risk populations, such as injecting drug users,
face "considerable barriers" to HIV prevention and treatment. It says
government policies often prevent injecting drug users from having
access to alternative drug treatments. China, India, Indonesia,
Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam ranked low in
providing coverage of medicines to prevent mother-to-child transmission
of the virus.
Looking ahead, U.N. Resident Coordinator in
Bangkok Gwi-Yeop Son says key challenges include ensuring sufficient
funds are important.
"We need to make sustained investments in
treatment, care [and] prevention efforts on HIV/AIDS," he said. "[For]
Every two people that are being treated there are five more new
infections. The epidemic is not over and we still have a 33 million HIV
population with 7,000 new infections every day."
Son says policy
makers, civilian partners and community leaders all must increase
efforts, to avoid complacency following the gains made in recent years.
The report comes a week ahead of the 17th international AIDS Conference, in Mexico.