United Nations Urges Asian Nations To Implement Coordinated Response to AIDS Epidemic
The United Nations today urged Asian nations to take immediate action to prevent the region from becoming the next epicenter of the AIDS pandemic, Agence France-Presse reports. Joy Phumaphi, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's HIV/AIDS commissioner, speaking at the World Health Organization's Regional Committee for the Western Pacific annual meeting in Manila, Philippines, said, "You have to have a full-scale, multi-sectoral, fully integrated aggressive intervention now. That is my message to you, it is absolutely critical" (Agence France-Presse, 9/11). An increasing number of sexually transmitted diseases, especially among young adults, could contribute to a more widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Asia Pacific region, the WHO regional office said in a statement yesterday. High-risk behavior and the number of STD cases are increasing, especially in Mongolia, the Philippines and Pacific Island countries, WHO said. In addition, surveys in China, Malaysia and Vietnam show that an increasing percentage of injection drug users are selling sex, which is facilitaing HIV transmission into the larger community. The committee yesterday urged greater efforts to promote condom use and needle-exchange programs and to provide drug treatment to prevent HIV among injection drug users, according to the AP/Newport News Daily Press. The committee also called for more effective partnerships among WHO, governments and other organizations to fight HIV/AIDS. According to WHO, an estimated 1.2 million people in the Western Pacific are HIV-positive (AP/Newport News Daily Press, 9/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.