In an attempt to curb the spread of AIDS/HIV, which is haunting the world for over two decades now, health officials and Government authorities from over 20 different countries in the Asia Pacific Region would meet in Pattaya, located in Thailand. Ensuring a universal access to AIDS/HIV treatment and prevention would be the main focus of the AIDS conference.
Following the failure of the WHO target to expand AIDS treatment to over 3 million universal AIDS/HIV sufferers by last year, the UNAids program (Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) has set a target to provide universal access to AIDS treatment and prevention by the year 2010. It has also been proposed to facilitate a financial grant of 50 billion U.S. dollars to help the developed countries manage AIDS pandemic more effectively.
With respect to Thailand, the high AIDS infection rates in specific groups of population such as homosexuals, intravenous drug users, commercial sex workers and migrant workers represent a significant challenge, according to Prasada Rao, Regional Director, UN Aids Asia Pacific.
He further stated that ensuring success of the universal AIDS program would not be possible without expansion of AIDS treatment and prevention services in every nation and reducing the social stigma attached to the disease.
More than 8 million people are afflicted with the deadly disease in the Asian region where the AIDS epidemic is more prevalent. In addition, more than 1 million people are affected every year. It is very vital to educate or rather alert political leaders in Asia, the importance of this issue so that collective action can be facilitated.
The main focus of the program should be to ensure accessibility of services to those who have not been covered previously such as children and young people. Thailand is now all set to reduce the incidence of AIDS/HIV infections by as much as 50% by the end of 2010.