Unless governments in Asia take action to halt the spread of HIV, the number of people infected with the virus could double within five years, experts warn.
Currently, about 8.6 million people in Asia are infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids. If current levels of inadequate government response continue, that number could increase to about 20 million within five years, said the independent Commission on Aids in Asia.
The commission, which is funded by UNAIDS, issued the warning during a two-day workshop in Manila, Philippines, the Associated Press reported.
HIV/Aids kills about 500 000 people a year in Asia and causes financial losses of about $10 billion a year. The commission said the economic cost could reach $29 billion a year if the epidemic is not brought under control within five years.
Despite the serious threat posed by HIV/Aids, the commission noted that current spending on HIV control in Asia is only about 10 percent of the required $5 billion a year, the AP reported. – (HealthDayNews)