China, India Facing AIDS ‘Catastrophe,’ CDC Head Says
China and India, the world's two most populous nations, are facing an AIDS "catastrophe," CDC Director Julie Gerberding said today at a briefing in Singapore, CNN.com reports (CNN.com, 7/3). Gerberding also said that Cambodia would face a crisis unless additional international efforts to stem the spread of HIV in Asia are developed. "[I]n some countries, like Cambodia and China and India, the public health measures have yet to take hold," Gerberding said. She added that the epidemic "is really in that phase of scaling up very, very quickly. It looks like Africa did a decade or so ago. If we don't intervene in those environments we will have a catastrophe. A very, very profound increase in the number of cases." Gerberding -- who is touring Asia with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jack Chow to assess regional infectious diseases and provide technical advice following the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS -- praised Thailand for its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. According to the United Nations, China had between 800,000 and 1.5 million HIV-positive people by December 2001, and the number could grow to 10 million by 2010. In India, the government estimates that four million people are living with HIV, but a U.S. study released last year predicted that there would be between 20 million and 25 million HIV-positive Indians by 2010 (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo! News, 7/3). An estimated 158,000 HIV-positive people live in Cambodia (CNN.com, 7/3). Chow said that there would be an additional 80 million HIV/AIDS cases by the end of the decade in China, India, Russia, Ethiopia and Nigeria alone (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo! News, 7/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.