HIV gains foothold in key Asian groups

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The number of new HIV infections in Indonesia — the world’s fourth most populous nation — is “exploding” among injection drug users, and there are “steep rises” among sex workers, a new report shows.

The 33-page analysis, written by Modeling the AIDS Pandemic (MAP), an international network of epidemiologists, public health experts and modellers, warns that several other Asian countries are also showing rapid increases in HIV prevalence.

China and Vietnam are already beginning to see a dramatic spread of the virus through sex workers and injection users. And the authors of the report urge the leaders of Bangladesh and the Philippines — two countries that still have strikingly low levels of HIV — to learn from the problems their neighbours are facing.

Reference: Science 294, 282-283 (2001)