HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific Region 2001

Regional Office for South-East Asia
Regional Office for the Western Pacific

Reference Number: ISBN 929061 158 8

The Asia Pacific region is vast and diverse. In addition to countries with varied epidemiological patterns of human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) – high versus low HIV prevalence countries and different predominant HIV risk behaviour(s) – countries in the region also have extremely diverse capabilities to develop and support public health prevention and control programmes. In reviewing the current epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in Asia, this diversity needs to be fully appreciated.

Understanding of the many diverse HIV epidemics and their determinants in the Asia-Pacific Region has improved substantially over the past 3-5 years, as a number of countries have implemented comprehensive surveillance systems for HIV prevalence, as well as sexual and injecting risk behaviours. As of 2001, HIV prevalence in most Asia Pacific countries remains low, but there are major public health concerns regarding the future growth potential of HIV/AIDS in the region. This vast region, with a population of nearly 3.5 billion in the most sexually active age group (15-49 years) – representing nearly 60% of the world’s population – has the potential, because of its sheer size, to significantly influence the course and overall impact of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.

This report presents an overview of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and a more detailed description of the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in the Asia Pacific region.