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WHO Alerts Governments to Step Up Action to Curb AIDS

WHO has coaxed political leaders of the Western Pacific region to take action to curb HIV. Survey points out that 2006 has witnessed the phenomenal increase// in Aids infection with figures escalating to 8.6 million. Only 1 million of that figure had AIDS in the previous year. WHO has issued the call to governments to intervene and adopt appropriate measures to contain the spreading of the virus.

Mr. Shigeru Omi, the director for Western Pacific Region of the WHO highlighted the fact that unprotected sex accounts for about 50% of the new infections in 2006. Papua New Guinea and Vietnam has emerged as potential hotspots. Vietnam has witnessed doubling of HIV infections in the last six years whereas Papua New Guinea has seen dramatic increase since 2003. Vietnam has over 2,60,000 people infected with the virus. In Asia, over 44% of the patients have contracted HIV whilst injecting drugs. Unprotected paid sex and unprotected sex between men are also seen as potential causes for the spread of the virus.

A worrying trend as per the Manila based Western Pacific Headquarters of WHO, is the prevalence of risky sexual behavior amongst the drug users. This has caused further inroads for the virus beyond the typically 'At-Risk' population. A third of the new infections in Thailand is amongst the traditionally 'low risk' group of married women.

WHO has stepped up its emphasis on placing more accountability on the government. Political leadership must spare no effort to educate the masses regarding the risk and prevalence of AIDS and also support projects attempting to contain the spread of the disease. As per Omi, fresh ideas like discouraging sharing of drug ingestion kits, reduction of stigmatization, testing, better marketing of condoms and promotion of voluntary counseling therapy is being promoted by WHO.


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