World

M'sia among top 10 nations affected by new HIV infections

Malaysia is one of the 10 countries which together accounted for more than 95 per cent of all new HIV infections in the Asia-Pacific region in 2016, said the United Nations in a recently released report.

The Ending Aids: Progress Towards the 90-90 Targets report said that the other nine countries in Asia were India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Thailand, reported Bernama.

FUNDING SHORTFALL

At the same time, progress in beating back the Aids epidemic risks being eroded by a funding shortfall set to grow under US President Donald Trump's proposed cuts to global health projects, experts and campaigners warned ahead of a major HIV conference.

If adopted by Congress, the 2018 budget could deprive some 830,000 people, mostly in Africa, from life-saving anti-Aids drugs, according to calculations by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a California-based health policy organisation.

"We will see lives needlessly being lost," said International Aids Society president Linda-Gail Bekker, hosting some 6,000 experts in Paris to take stock of advances in HIV science.

"We're not talking about maybe a slowing down... If these (US) cuts come about, we could very well see a real turnaround in terms of the progress that has been made," she told AFP.

A Trump budget could lead to nearly 200,000 new HIV infections, according to the KFF.

It could also leave as many as 25 million couples without access to sponsored contraceptives, which not only prevent pregnancy but also the spread of the virus.

"I cannot tell you how anxious I feel... To have the funding carpet taken from under our feet just seems such an incredible travesty," said Ms Bekker.

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