UN: Tsunami Has Increased AIDS-Risk In South Asia
United Nations: Tsunami Has Increased AIDS-Risk In South Asia
By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland.
The devastating Boxing Day Tsunami in South East Asia has increased the AIDS-risk within the region. The United Nations believes the tsunami has left millions of people homeless who are still, six months after, living under most awkward conditions. Furthermore at many places the health system has collapsed and people cannot get condoms.
The situation has increased the risk of a rapid spread of the fatal low immunity disease AIDS in Asia, UN representatives said on Monday at an international AIDS-conference in the Western Japanese city of Kobe.
“That’s why we are extremely worried”, Jan Leno of the UN AIDS Programme highlighted. The number of new infections with the HI-Virus in the Tsunami-region has not yet risen. But latest surveys show a boost of pregnancies and diseases transmitted via sexual intercourse.
According to UN estimations 8.2 million people in Asia are infected with the HI-Virus, worldwide 39 million people live with HIV or AIDS.
The UN warns that without counteractive measures by 2010 already twelve million people would be infected in Asia. By now, one in four new infections with the HI-Virus occurs in Asia, where 1500 people die of AIDS each day.
J.V.R. Prasada Rao, Regional Director of the UNAIDS-programme in Asia, had named AIDS a “silent Tsunami”.
More than 230,000 people died during and after the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. The tsunami hit neighbouring states of the Indian Ocean and swamps much of the low-lying areas of the Indo-Asian region.