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Australia Hikes Overseas Spending on HIV/AIDS




 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Australia raised its spending on HIV/AIDS projects around the world on Wednesday with a further A$70 million ($41.32 million) added to existing pledges of A$130 million, most of it earmarked for the Asia-Pacific region.

"AIDS strikes people in their most productive years and leaves millions of orphaned children," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a statement. "It also disrupts key sectors such as agriculture, education, manufacturing and transport," he added.

The six-year initiative, launched while Downer was in Bangkok to attend a regional foreign ministers security meeting, would include support for existing projects in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

"As a significant amount of funding under the initiative remains uncommitted, considerable opportunities exist for further cooperation," Downer said.

Until now, Asia has been more successful in holding the AIDS virus at bay than Africa, where the disease has killed about 12 million people and left many more infected with HIV.

According to a recent UNAIDS report, only three countries in Asia--Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand--have HIV infection rates exceeding one percent among 15 to 49-year-olds. But the low rates conceal huge numbers of infected people. In India, 3.7 million are infected, more than in any other country except South Africa. In China, an estimated 500,000 people, mainly drug users, live with HIV/AIDS.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in July 26, 2000. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.