HIV/AIDS in the Region
In the Western Pacific Region, the estimated number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) reached 1.4 million in 2008, up from 1.3 million in 2007 and 870 000 in 2001.
Prevalence remained low at 0.1 percent, and there are signs that the epidemic is stabilizing and prevention efforts are making headway as manifested by a slight drop in new infections to 136 000 in 2008 from 150 000 in 2001.
Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, China, Malaysia and Viet Nam together make up more than 90 percent of the regional HIV burden, based on 2007 country estimates.
Populations with high-risk behaviors continue to be the main drivers of HIV transmission in the Region. Seven out of 10 PLHIV are male. The predominance of male infections is largely attributed to their continued engagement in high-risk behaviors—unprotected commercial sex, unprotected sex among men and unsafe drug injection.
The estimated number of deaths related to AIDS more than doubled in 2008 to 90 000 from 2001 because of limited coverage of the life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Data available in 2008 indicated that only 31 percent of individuals needing ART had access to this treatment.
Among children, new infections went up to 5700 in 2008 from 4200 in 2001, indicating efforts should be scaled up in HIV services for women and children such as the PMTCT, and services for pediatric cases.
Sexually transmitted infections (STI) pose a problem because of their potential complications and impact on sexual and reproductive health. STI are predisposing factors to acquiring and spreading HIV and are present with high prevalence in several Western Pacific countries.