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AIDS claims one life in Asia-Pacific per minute: WHO

Over 5 lakh people in the Asia-Pacific region have died of AIDS in 2003, said a WHO report on the occasion of the World AIDS Day.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2003 18:38 IST

AIDS now kills a person every minute in the Asia-Pacific, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, warning HIV prevalence is increasing in China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.

The Manila-based WHO regional office for the Western Pacific said in a statement on the occasion of World AIDS Day that more than half a million people in the Asia-Pacific died of the disease in 2003. "That is one death from AIDS every minute," it said, warning that "without major investments in prevention and care, similar annual death tolls can be expected until the end of the decade."

New WHO studies showed that more than seven million people were living with HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, out of the global total of 40 million. India had the highest number of people in Asia living with HIV/AIDS -- an estimated 3.8 million to 4.6 million people.

According to the new report published by the WHO, "HIV prevalence is increasing in several countries, including China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam," the statement said. It added that China accounts for about 840,000 HIV infections, with "alarming rates of infection among some populations," including in Xinjiang province where 80 per cent of injecting drug users are infected.

In Indonesia and Nepal, there has been a "sudden emergence" of HIV among injecting drug users, the WHO said. "The growing number of AIDS cases in many countries of Asia and the Pacific makes clear the urgent need for HIV/AIDS care and treatment," the statement said.

First Published: Dec 01, 2003 13:56 IST