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UNAIDS - Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS & APLF - Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS and Development
Act Now: Asia-Pacific Leaders Respond to HIV/AIDS
UNAIDS/APLF, Bangkok, June 2004, 52 pp

This is a publication of UNAIDS/Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS and Development (APLF) which has been funded by USAID. USAID funding for this publication has been provided through its contract with the POLICY Project. The five-year POLICY Project is implemented by the Futures Group International in collaboration with the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) and Research Triangle Institute (RTI).


"Asia-Pacific countries have reached a critical point in their response to HIV/AIDS. Until now, levels of HIV infection in most countries have remained relatively low and the response of most governments has been similarly low-key. The region’s HIV epidemics, however, are accelerating. A million Asian and Pacific people became infected with HIV last year and more than half a million people died of AIDS. The figures will be higher in 2004. How much worse this appalling toll becomes will depend largely on what national leaders do now. At this stage, when epidemics are still concentrated in certain population groups and geographic areas, the opportunity still exists to avert a greater disaster. Thailand’s experience shows targeted interventions can be highly effective in preventing the spread of HIV. To undertake the necessary work on the scale required demands an enormous increase in spending on prevention, treatment and care by Asia-Pacific governments. But the argument for responding quickly is compelling: the longer governments wait to make such interventions, the higher the eventual cost in lives, productivity and national as well as household medical expenses. The decision to make that investment can only come from leaders and policy makers at the highest levels of government. But effective action against HIV/AIDS isn’t just a question of spending money. It demands sustained action by every level of government, civil society, business and the media. To mobilize that response and to support those who make it work calls for personal engagement by those who lead government."

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