POZlife

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HIV Ignorance Fueling Transmission Rate In Asia-Pacific

Posted by pozlife on June 4, 2007

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 4, 2007 – 9:00 am ET

(Phnom Penh) More than 90 percent of the estimated 8.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region do not know they have the virus the United Nations reported on Monday.

The stunning figure was released in a joint statement by the UNICEF, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization at the start of a three day AIDS conference in the Cambodian capital.

“With so few people aware of their status, efforts to prevent new infections and treat those who are positive are becoming more difficult,” the statement said.

The three world organizations called on governments in the region to increase AIDS education efforts and boost health care.

Shigeru Omi, the WHO director for the region called awareness of a person’s HIV status an issue of human rights.

After sub-Saharan Africa, Asia is the second most infected region. In South and Southeast Asia, the number of new infections has grown by 15 per cent since 2004, while it rose by 12 per cent in North Africa and the Middle East. In Latin America, the Caribbean and North America it remained roughly stable.

The three organizations said there is increasing evidence for HIV outbreaks among men who have sex with each other in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand, but it said few of these countries’ AIDS programs really address the problem of sex between males.

The number children infected with HIV also is growing at a large rate.

There are an estimated 64,000 children living with HIV in the region who need treatment, but only one in five of them are receiving it.

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