U.N. Officials Call for Increased Action To Prevent Spread of HIV Among Women, Children in Asia-Pacific Region
More needs to be done to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS among pregnant women and infants in the Asia-Pacific region, U.N. officials said on Monday at the opening of the first Asia-Pacific Joint Forum, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports. At the five-day conference, health experts, nongovernmental organizations and HIV-positive people from 22 countries plan to promote a strategy to prevent HIV transmission among pregnant women and children, with a focus on improved integration of HIV/AIDS and maternal health services. "Linking HIV prevention efforts with reproductive health care can strengthen and improve access to both," Chaiyos Kunanusont, an adviser to the U.N. Population Fund, said. Delegates plan to establish a framework that aims to strengthen links between counseling and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and maternal and child health, family planning and sexual health. The United Nations estimates that the number of HIV-positive women in the Asia-Pacific region from 2001 through 2004 increased by 16% to more than two million, compared with the global increase of 8%. In addition, roughly 90% of the 411,000 HIV-positive children in the region contracted the virus as a result of mother-to-child transmission, according to the AP/Herald Tribune (AP/International Herald Tribune, 11/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.