Pakistan has high HIV prevalence rate in Asia

According to UNAIDS, HIV prevalence in Pakistan nearly doubled from 11 percent in 2005 to 21 percent in 2008.

Islamabad: Pakistan is among the 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific, which has a high prevalence of rate of deadly HIV infection, a UN report has said.

Neighbouring India and China are also on the list, which includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has said.

Launched at the 2011 International Congress on AIDS in
Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), the report, titled HIV in Asia
and the Pacific: "Getting to Zero", found that more people
than ever before have access to HIV services across the

But most countries in the region are a long way from
achieving universal access goals for HIV prevention,
treatment, care and support.

According to UNAIDS, HIV prevalence in Pakistan nearly
doubled from 11 percent in 2005 to 21 percent in 2008.

The greatest source of a spread in the virus was use of
drug injections and the UNAIDS says that an estimated one in
five people who inject drugs in Pakistan are HIV-positive.

Pakistan, it states, is among the five countries that
funds the bulk of its HIV response from domestic sources but
many countries in Asia depend heavily on foreign funding,
particularly for the provision of antiretroviral therapy.

Increased investment of domestic resources, especially
in middle-income countries, is critical for the ongoing
regional response to HIV, says UNAIDS.

Across the region, the report states, stigma and
discrimination against people living with HIV and populations
at higher risk of infection remain rife.

About 90 percent of the countries in the region retain
punitive laws and policies that effectively prevent people
living with HIV from accessing life-saving HIV services.

Data suggest that a significant proportion of new HIV
infections within key populations are among young people under
the age of 25.

In most settings, HIV prevention programmes are failing
to sufficiently reach young people most at risk.

"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.

"HIV programmes must be sufficiently resourced and
solidly focused on key populations. Investments made today
will pay off manifold in the future.


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