HIV infection dropped 20% from 2001 to 2009: UN

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2011, 18:34 PM IST

Geneva: The number of new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region dropped by 20 percent between 2001 and 2009, a UN report said Friday.

The report titled "HIV in Asia and the Pacific: Getting to Zero" states that the number of new HIV infections in the region dropped from about 450,000 in 2001 to 360,000 in 2009, thanks to government-invested preventative programmes and increased access to anti-retroviral drugs, Xinhua said.

About 4.7 million people in the region are currently estimated to be living with HIV, with the majority of them in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia, India, Myanmar and Thailand have reduced their HIV infection rates significantly with intensive HIV prevention programmes for people who buy and sell sex, said the report.

Despite a three-fold increase in the access to anti-retroviral therapy since 2006, more than 60 percent of people in the region, who were eligible for HIV treatment, still could not access it by the end of 2009, the report said.

"Getting to zero, new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific will demand national responses based on science and the best available evidence," said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe.

New HIV infections remain concentrated among key populations, such as people who buy and sell sex, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and transgenders, it said.

IANS