Aug 3 An international conference on AIDS opened in Mexico on Sunday. UNAIDS revealed last week that global deaths from AIDS reached an estimated 2 million in 2007, down from 2.1 million deaths in 2006 and about 33 million people were living with human immunodeficiency virus infections in 2007.
Here are some key details about AIDS in Asia:
-- In Asia an estimated 5 million people had HIV infections in 2007.
-- The number of new infections and people who died from AIDS-related illnesses were almost the same in 2007, 380,000 and 380,000 respectively.
-- New HIV infections are increasing steadily in Asia, although at a slower pace in countries with bigger populations including China and Bangladesh.
-- Injecting drug use is a major factor in several countries, with estimates that just under half of HIV patients in China infected via contaminated injecting equipment. This is also happening in India, Pakistan and Vietnam.
-- In Afghanistan, in one of HIV's most recent outbreaks, narcotics are being injected and in Kabul alone, 3 percent of people who injected drugs, were HIV positive, although this number may rise as half of the survey participants said they had shared needles or syringes.
-- In Malaysia, more than two-thirds of HIV infections have been among injecting drug users.
* MIXED FORTUNES:
-- The epidemics in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand have all shown declines in HIV prevalence, falling in Cambodia from 2 percent in 1998 to an estimated 0.9 percent in 2006.
-- However, epidemics in Indonesia (especially in its Papua province), Pakistan, and Vietnam are growing rapidly. In Vietnam, the estimated number of people living with HIV more than doubled between 2000 and 2005.
* EASTERN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA:
-- The estimated number of people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia rose to 1.5 million in 2007.
-- Almost 90 percent of those infected live in either the Russian Federation (69 percent) or Ukraine (29 percent). It is estimated that 110,000 people in this region became infected with HIV in 2007, while some 58,000 died of AIDS.
-- The HIV epidemic in the Russian Federation (already the largest in this region) has continued to grow, although apparently at a slower pace than in Ukraine, where annual new HIV diagnoses have more than doubled since 2001.
-- The annual numbers of newly reported HIV diagnoses are also rising in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
Reuters/UNAIDS/www.unaids.org/ (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Bill Trott)