Leading economists, policy-makers and civil society representatives joined hands today to boost efforts by governments in the Asia and Pacific region to tackle HIV/AIDS.
Headed by C Rangarajan, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, the 10-member independent commission on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific will conduct an objective analysis of the developmental consequences of AIDS in the region and its medium- and long-term implications on the socio-economic environment.
"There are 8.3 million people infected with HIV/AIDS in the region and if this trend goes unchecked, the figure could go up to 20 million. The region has 67 per cent of the population in the world and many countries in the region are among the fastest growing economies," Rangarajan told reporters after the first meeting of the commission.
He said that since the HIV prevalence rate is low in the region, any action taken now be beneficial.
"The goal of this commission is to generate adequate information to show to leaders and governments in the region the urgent necessity to invest in (efforts to combat) AIDS if they are to maintain their achievemens in development," said the former RBI governor.
The commission will study the issue, the projection for the future and suggest policy measures to governments, he said.