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Asian countries still experiencing growing HIV epidemics

I was in Thailand a couple of weeks back to speak at a conference organised the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians. My visit underlined for me how a number of countries in Asia are still experiencing rapidly growing HIV epidemics. As the epidemics move from high-risk groups to women of reproductive age, increasing numbers of infants are becoming infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission.

Apart from Thailand and Cambodia, most countries in the region are experiencing rising numbers of paediatric AIDS cases and have little experience of programmes to prevent transmission. Thailand and Cambodia have been seriously affected by HIV, but have implemented aggressive prevention programmes and are now experiencing declines in adult and paediatric HIV infection.

At the conference I explained that Save the Children’s child survival campaign has a significant focus on health systems. I also met several parliamentarians at the meeting and reiterated that Save the Children would like to see increased healthcare and social support for mothers and young children living with HIV. We believe they’re an important part of the prevention-to-care continuum. This can be achieved through strengthening health systems.

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