Fight HIV/AIDS along with maternal, child health care: UN12 years, 6 months ago
Posted on Nov 07, 2006, 11 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
Asia-Pacific countries should fight the spread of the HIV/ AIDS by integrating prevention and treatment of the disease into maternal and child health care, United Nations officials have said. "Linking HIV prevention efforts with reproductive health care can strengthen and improve access to both," Chaiyos Kunanusont, HIV/AIDS regional adviser for the United Nations Population Fund, said in a statement Monday.
United Nations officials have said.
"Linking HIV prevention efforts with reproductive health care can strengthen and improve access to both," Chaiyos Kunanusont, HIV/AIDS regional adviser for the United Nations Population Fund, said in a statement Monday.
"Millions of women who don't know their HIV status have an unmet need for effective contraception. Integrated services would enable them to protect themselves and also reduce HIV transmission to their children," he said.
Between 2001-2004, the estimated number of HIV positive women in Asia-Pacific increased by 16 percent to over two million, twice the global rate of increase, the statement said.
The number of new infections among children and young people is also growing in the region. In 2005, an estimated 8.3 million children were infected with the virus.
About 90 percent of the children were infected from their mother, it added.
Chaiyos made the call for strengthening integration of these vital health services at the opening of the first UN-organised Asia-Pacific Joint Forum in Malaysia.
The five-day meeting which began Monday gathers health professionals, governments, people with HIV, and civil society groups from 22 countries in the region.
"Many countries in Asia-Pacific already have national guidelines in place for the prevention of parent to child transmission," said Richard Bridle,
UNICEF deputy regional director for Asia-Pacific.
"The challenge remains how we better link these efforts to prevent disease," he said.
The UN estimated 930,000 new HIV infections in Asia and Pacific in 2005 and are working in the region to prevent the escalating spread of the virus and to reduce mortality.
Asia-Pacific houses 60 percent of the world's population with many countries having a high proportion of young people between the ages of 15-25.