"A lot more needs to be done and fast. The focus in
the region needs to shift from statements of what actions are being taken to
what results are being achieved. Smallscale successes against HIV/AIDS in South
Asia exist. Results on a large scale are needed."
— UNAIDS Issues Paper 1, February
Regional initiatives link UNFPA with many valued partners,
multiplying expertise gained by the Fund over three decades addressing culturally
and politically sensitive issues of sexual and reproductive health.
In Asia and the Pacific, many countries
are faced with the threat of major and widespread epidemics. The vast size
of the population in countries such as India and China means that large numbers
of people are infected even when national figures show comparatively low HIV
prevalence. An estimated 7.2 million people are now living with HIV/AIDS in
Asia and the Pacific, including 4 million in India and 1 million in China,
where the epidemic shows no signs of abating. High HIV infection rates are
being recorded among specific population groups (injecting drug users, sex
workers, and men who have sex with men) in countries throughout the region.
The worst of the epidemic’s impact on societies in sub-Saharan
Africa will be felt in the course of the next decade and beyond.
In this region with the world’s highest infection rates, 29.4 million
people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2002. Africa is home to 70 per cent of
adults and 80 per cent of children living with HIV/AIDS. Yet, positive trends
seem to be taking hold among younger people in a number of countries, raising
hopes that the epidemic could be brought under control. All UNFPA-supported
programmes in the 45 countries of sub-Saharan Africa have integrated HIV/AIDS
- In four Southern African countries, national adult HIV prevalence has
risen higher than thought possible: Botswana (38.8 per cent), Lesotho (31
per cent), Swaziland (33.4 per cent) and Zimbabwe (33.7 per cent).
The world’s fastest-growing epidemic continues in Eastern
Europe and Central Asia, with 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS
in 2002. Infection is expanding rapidly in the Baltic States, the Russian
Federation and several Central Asian republics, fuelled by high rates of
injecting drug use among young people and high levels of sexually transmitted
Several countries in North Africa and the Middle
East have introduced better surveillance systems but lingering denial
and inadequate data make it difficult to assess the impact of the epidemic.
The number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 550,000 in 2002.
While HIV prevalence continues to be low in most countries in the region,
danger signs are found in high rates of sexually transmitted infections and
high-risk behaviours of injecting drug users—with the likelihood that
HIV/AIDS will spread to the wider population unless immediate action is taken.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the second-most affected
region in the world, with adult HIV prevalence rates in some countries surpassed
only by sub-Saharan Africa. Haiti remains the worst affected (with an estimated
national adult HIV prevalence of over 6 per cent) along with the Bahamas (where
prevalence is 3.5 per cent). There were 1.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS
in the region in 2002. Marginalized populations seem to be paying a disproportionately
high toll, and there is a danger that well-established epidemics could spread
more quickly and more widely in the absence of an intensified response.
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