440,000 people die of AIDS in Asia each year

March 27th, 2008 - 2:16 pm ICT by admin  

United Nations, March 27 (Xinhua) Nearly five million people are living with HIV in Asia with 440,000 dying each year, a report by an independent commission has said. The Commission on AIDS in Asia warned that even after two decades, AIDS remains the most likely cause of death and work days lost among 15-44 year-olds in Asia.

The report, “Redefining AIDS in Asia - Crafting an effective response”, was presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday.

It said that at the current rate, an additional eight million people would become newly infected by 2020. The annual death toll will rise to almost 500,000 by that time.

“By implementing the recommendations of the commission, Asian countries can avert massive increases in infections and death, prevent economic losses and save millions of people from poverty,” Ban said.

However, the report observed that the number of people, newly infected by 2020, could be restricted to three million and the number of deaths to less than 300,000 if Asian leaders implement a priority programme immediately.

Asian countries have the resources, technology and organisational capacity for a vastly scaled up response to the AIDS epidemic, the commission said.

“What is required is political will of the governments in Asia and meaningful involvement of community-based organisations in HIV prevention.”

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