The epidemic grows

Published: Monday 15 December 1997

as much as 0.4 per cent of India's population has aids . The country has the sixth highest incidence of aids in Southeast Asia, says a World Bank ( wb ) report titled Confronting aids : Public Priorities in a Global Epidemic . The report adds that the problem is growing rapidly in India and Pakistan.

The situation is at its worst in Thailand, where 2.1 per cent of the adult population is reported to be infected with hiv , the virus that causes aids . In Cambodia, the figure stands at 1.9 per cent. In Myanmar and Maldives, the figure is 1.5 and 0.6 respectively. "In many developing countries, the aids epidemic is spreading rapidly," the wb officials warned at a meeting held to mark the release of the report on November 3 in Washington dc . They said "a multi-pronged strategy" needs to be urgently drawn up to prevent the disease from becoming a "full blown" epidemic.

The incidence of aids is high among users of injectable drugs in the Northeastern states and prostitutes in South India. In other parts of the country, the epidemic is in the nascent stage, the report says.

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