Learning English - Words in the News
21 November, 2005 - Published 13:29 GMT
Aids continues to spread
The United Nations AIDS organisation has published a report showing the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS is higher than ever. Although infection rates in Asia are lower than in some other parts of the world, more than eight million people in the region are infected. This report from Elizabeth Blunt.
Infection rates are rising slowly but inexorably, all over Asia. And even Thailand, which did well in reducing its rates of infection, still has high rates among some vulnerable groups in the population. This year's report highlights the deadly association between injecting drug use and prostitution right across Asia.
One recent study in China found at least half of female drug users had engaged in commercial sex, and a high percentage of male drug users typically frequent prostitutes. A study in Surubaya, Indonesia, found that 80% of male injecting drug users bought sex, and that hardly any of them used a condom.
So the AIDS virus spreads through the use of dirty needles, and is then passed on to prostitutes, who infect their other clients. The point at which those other clients go home and pass the virus to their wives and girlfriends is the moment at which the disease moves out of the high risk groups into the general population, and this is the greatest risk in Asia.
The report says that far more efforts are needed to target high risk groups and encourage safer behaviour; but in Indonesia, for instance, if you carry a clean needle the police are likely to arrest you for being a drug addict; a woman carrying a condom will be arrested as a prostitute, all of which just encourages the spread of the disease.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
reducing its rates of infection