Asia-Pacific Countries Must End Cultural Taboos About Sex, Discrimination, To Curb HIV/AIDS Epidemic, Advocate Says
AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific President Myung-Hwan Cho on Tuesday said that the region must quell cultural taboos about sex and halt discrimination if it is to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Reuters UK reports. Speaking at the announcement of an HIV/AIDS conference to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, next year, Myung-Hwan said that preventing new HIV cases in the region "is particularly difficult" because of cultural factors. "Talking about sex is taboo. Educating people to use condoms is difficult," Myung-Hwan said, adding, "But we need to educate young people. Fifty percent of all people infected in Asia last year were aged between 14 and 24." He called on attorneys general and human rights commissions in the region to advocate for laws to make refusal of employment, health care and education for children based on HIV status illegal. Myung-Hwan said that it is "hard to say" if the region eventually will have HIV prevalence rates of 20% to 30%, as some countries in Southern Africa do, adding, "I hope we will not. The situation here is difficult. The economies are better than in Africa and there is less political turmoil" (Apps, Reuters UK, 3/22).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.