Southeast Asian Officials Meet in Laos To Discuss HIV/AIDS Prevention
Officials with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations recently met in Laos to examine methods of addressing the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS in the region, Xinhuanet reports. According to Xinhuanet, the officials discussed how increasing the involvement and empowerment of HIV-positive people could help curb the spread of the virus.
During a meeting on Wednesday, Lao Deputy Minister of Public Health Bounkouang Phichit said that HIV/AIDS has negatively impacted health care systems in Southeast Asia, as well as national budgets, especially in low-income countries. According to Sonam Yangchen Rana, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Laos, the meeting will help address the needs and concerns of people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as strengthen their involvement in the development and execution of ASEAN's HIV/AIDS efforts.
Rana also said that during the past few years, Southeast Asia has seen an increasing number of networks of HIV-positive people. According to Xinhuanet, the networks provide people with a communal platform to voice their concerns, as well as an opportunity to gather and offer services. ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam (Xinhuanet, 5/8).