Science Magazine Examines AIDS in Asia in Occasional Series
The Sept. 19 issue of Science magazine includes a special report on AIDS in Asia, which "faces unique problems when confronting HIV and AIDS." The collection of articles, the first in an occasional series on HIV/AIDS in Asia leading up to the XV International AIDS Conference in Thailand in July 2004, examines four countries -- Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam -- "to spotlight both successes and worrisome trends in Asia." Some experts predict that without significant increases in prevention efforts, Asia may have more HIV-positive people by 2010 than sub-Saharan Africa does today, according to Science. Currently, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia have the highest HIV prevalence rates outside of Africa. However, Vietnam's HIV prevalence is lower than that of the United States, despite the country's "raging problem" with injection drug use. And although Myanmar and Thailand have similar HIV/AIDS epidemics, fueled by injection drug use and the commercial sex trade, the two countries' governments have responded differently to the epidemics. Thailand has just completed an efficacy trial of VaxGen's AIDSVAX vaccine in 2,500 injection drug users, the first AIDS vaccine efficacy trial ever held in a developing nation. According to Science, the study results "are likely to receive exceptional scrutiny." Reporting for the series was supported in part by a fellowship to Science correspondent Jon Cohen from the Kaiser Family Foundation (Cohen, Science, 9/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.