Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where are we?

  In Iran, HIV/AIDS content has been integrated into the education system at three levels: trainers, teachers and students. Photo credit: Majeed Panahee joo

Asia and the Pacific as a whole have performed better on reducing the incidence of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and other communicable diseases. Yet, in-depth look shows a mixed performance.

Given the social and cultural stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS, accurate data has been hard to come by. Out of 20 countries for which data are available, 12 countries have reduced HIV prevalence among the population aged 15-24 years (estimated number of new HIV infections per 100 people) or are on track to achieve the target. Six countries, with HIV prevalence lower than average, show reversals.

According to the 2013 Global MDG Report, only Cambodia and Fiji with relatively low and concentrated epidemics had achieved universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, commonly understood as the provision of antiretroviral therapy to at least 80 percent of the people who need it. Elsewhere, most developing countries, particularly East Asia and South Asia, are far from achieving that goal because of various factors, including stigmas and discrimination that people living with HIV and AIDS face, hinder their access to medical testing, treatment, care and other support.

The region has done remarkably well in reducing TB incidence and prevalence. Nearly 90 percent of the countries in the region have already achieved the target or are going to meet it by 2015. Yet, Asia and the Pacific hosts two-thirds of the world’s poor who are infected with TB. Sustained control efforts are critical to preventing the reactivation of TB in people who have been infected in the past, and to preventing TB infection among people living with HIV.

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