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WHO urges collaboration for 3.9 million HIV cases in Southeast Asia

Approximately 3.9 million individuals in the South-East Asia region are grappling with HIV, constituting roughly 10% of the global HIV burden, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday. In commemoration of World AIDS Day, observed on December 1, WHO disclosed that an estimated 110,000 people contracted HIV in 2022, with 85,000 succumbing to AIDS-related causes in the region, representing over 13% of the worldwide AIDS-related mortality. WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, emphasized the imperative for sustained collaboration among member states, partners, and communities globally to confront the challenges in eradicating AIDS by 2030 and empowering communities to guide the response.

The South-East Asia Region has witnessed substantial progress over the past decade, marked by a noteworthy 50% reduction in both new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths. New infections dwindled from 200,000 in 2010 to 110,000 in 2022, while HIV-related deaths plummeted from 230,000 in 2010 to 85,000 in 2022. By 2022, 65% of those living with HIV were receiving vital antiretroviral treatment, a stark rise from 17% in 2010. Notably, Maldives and Sri Lanka were confirmed to have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis in 2019, with Thailand achieving this milestone in 2016. Despite this progress, Dr. Khetrapal stressed the region’s need to intensify efforts to reach more individuals, even as 81% of people living with HIV in the region knew their status, 65% were on antiretroviral therapy, and 61% were virally suppressed by the end of 2022.


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