Asia-Pacific Region Making Gains Against HIV/AIDS, But More Needs To Be Done, UNAIDS Report Says

Though the Asia-Pacific region “has seen impressive gains” in the fight against HIV/AIDS “– including a 20 percent drop in new HIV infections since 2001 and a three-fold increase in access to antiretroviral therapy since 2006 — progress is threatened by an inadequate focus on key populations at higher risk of HIV infection and insufficient funding from both domestic and international sources,” according to a UNAIDS report (.pdf) released on Thursday at the 2011 International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Busan, South Korea, a UNAIDS press release states (8/26).

Across the region, “the number of new HIV infections dropped from about 450,000 in 2001 to 360,000 in 2009,” according to the report, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C notes (8/26). “About 4.9 million people in the region had HIV in 2009, and that number has been relatively stable since 2005,” the report states, Bloomberg News writes (Bennett, 8/26). According to the report, HIV/AIDS programs in the Asia-Pacific were under-funded, Xinhua reports. “In 2009, an estimated $1.1 billion was spent in AIDS/HIV programs in 30 countries across the region — approximately one-third of the funding needed to achieve universal access goals to HIV services,” according to the news agency (8/26).