Drug Use, Prostitution Put Asia's 'Big Three' at Risk
Agence France Presse (11.25.03)::Richard Ingham
China, India and Indonesia - which are home to 40 percent of
population - now face HIV epidemics that could leap out of
risk groups and
into the mainstream, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization
Tuesday in their annual "AIDS Epidemic Update."
"Injecting drug use and
sex work are so pervasive in some areas that even countries
low infection levels could see epidemics surge suddenly,"
Of the estimated 40 million HIV infections worldwide, around
live in Asia and the Pacific. A million people in this region
become HIV-infected this year, and half a million will have
died from the
In China, "...serious, concentrated epidemics have been
under way for many
years in certain regions (such as Yunnan, Xinjiang, Guangxi,
Henan and Guandong) and are poised to take off in several
current source: increasing numbers of injection drug users (IDUs)
needles, as well as low condom use among sex workers and gays.
In India, epidemics are under way in several states -
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (where sex worker HIV prevalence in
exceeds 50 percent), and in Manipur (with HIV prevalence among
between 60-75 percent). The epidemic is spreading to rural
areas and the
wider populace, said the UN agencies.
In Indonesia, "Over 90 percent of injecting drug users
have been found to
use unclean injecting equipment in three major cities, and in
these, as many as 70 percent report having had unprotected sex
workers." Fewer than 10 percent of the 7 million to 10
men who frequent sex workers use condoms consistently.
While Cambodia and Thailand got high marks for promoting
condom use in the
sex industry, Vietnam "faces the possibility of a serious
arising from drug users, and Mynamar "has little time to
lose," with an
epidemic growing among IV drug users and migrant workers.
Source: CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update 11/26/03