As the global community commemorates World AIDS Day on Wednesday, international health organizations report both promising and sobering trends.
While the United Nations says new HIV infections have declined by almost 20 percent worldwide over the past decade, the estimated number of children living with HIV or AIDS in 11 Asian countries has increased by 46 percent between 2001 and 2009, the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia office said Wednesday.
“In 2001, an estimated 89,000 children were living with HIV/AIDS,” said Vismita Gupta-Smith, public information and advocacy officer for WHO’s regional office in New Delhi, India. “In 2009, there are an estimated 130,000 children living with HIV infection,” including recent HIV infection, advanced HIV infection and AIDS.
The 11 countries in the region are Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Liste.
But a report by a United Nations program released last month shows some encouraging news, including drops in AIDS-related deaths and new HIV cases.