by VR Sreeraman on  August 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM AIDS/HIV News
 AsiaPac to Treat One Million HIV Patients by 2011
The Asia Pacific region is on target to treat a million HIV-positive people with antiretroviral drugs within the next two years, a UN body said on Monday.

Around 565,000 people in the region are already receiving treatment, UNAIDS regional director Prasada Rao said, adding he was "confident" of getting the medicine to another half-a-million people by 2011.

"We're half-way through. There are still about 500,000 more who need to be covered by antiretroviral treatment (before we) reach the universal access target," he told reporters on the sidelines of the ninth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) in Bali, Indonesia.

An estimated five million Asians are living with HIV, many of them in Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia, according to a UN report released last year.

"At any one point, 20 percent (of the people living with HIV) would be needing treatment," he said.

The one-million figure means "the region will be able to achieve something substantial in terms of putting people on treatment" even though "new infections continue to occur", he said.

"I'm very confident we will be able to achieve it... because more money is coming from global funding and better programming by countries," he added.

Rao told reporters that up to 80 percent of HIV-positive people in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos were receiving treatment, but some other countries were only managing to reach 10 to 15 percent.

Delegates from 65 nations are attending the meeting, which runs until Thursday, to discuss topics ranging from HIV risks among migrant workers to the impact of the financial crisis on those with the disease.

Source: AFP

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