Friday, August 14, 2009

HIV transmission in intimate partner relationships in Asia

It is estimated that more than 90% of the 1.7 million women living with HIV in Asia became infected from their husbands or partners while in long-term relationships. By 2008, women constituted 35% of all adult HIV infections in Asia, up from 17% in 1990.

A new report by UNAIDS, its Cosponsors and civil society partners, being released at the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Bali, HIV Transmission in Intimate Partner Relationships in Asia, examines the issue of married or in long-term relationships women who are at risk of HIV infection due to their partners’ high-risk behaviours.

The evidence from almost all the countries in Asia indicates that women are acquiring HIV not because of their own sexual behaviours but because of the unsafe behaviours that their partners engage in. The intimate partners of men who have sex with men, injecting drug users or clients of sex workers constitute the largest vulnerable population in Asia.

At least 75 million men regularly buy sex from sex workers in Asia, and a further 20 million men have sex with other men or are injecting drug users. Many of these men are in steady relationships: it is estimated that 50 million women in the region are of risk of acquiring HIV from their partners.

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