HIV/AIDS Poses Long-Term Security Threat to Asia, Society Head Says at Australian Conference
HIV/AIDS represents a larger "long-term security threat" to the Asia-Pacific region than does global terrorism, according to the head of the Asia and Pacific AIDS Society, who was scheduled to present his findings on Wednesday at the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine conference, the Australian reports. Dennis Altman, APAS president and politics professor at La Trobe University, said that there are already "millions" of HIV-positive people in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, China and India, and that 10,000 Cambodians will die from AIDS-related illnesses annually for the next 10 years (Hodge, Australian, 10/22). "If the AIDS pandemic continues to grow along current projections it poses a human and security disaster far greater than either terrorism or rogue states," Altman said at the conference, which was held in Cairns, Australia. He added, "The implications for social stability in countries where professionals are dying faster than they can be replaced, and where millions of children will grow up without parents, are staggering" (Dow Jones International News, 10/22). He also said, "We have already seen in Africa that once HIV starts affecting a lot of people, you get the beginnings of a societal collapse because the people who get sick are disproportionately in those age groups societies depend on to keep them going." Altman said that the Australian government should "not afford to ignore the lessons from Africa's epidemic" because if the disease is "left unchecked" it could "risk an emergency on an even greater scale than that currently affecting" sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Australian (Australian, 10/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.