'Sexual partners, communities must get tested' - WHO, UNAIDS push to fight disease in Asia-Pacific

In a joint statement, WHO and UNAIDS said research had long shown that anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines reduced AIDS-related deaths and prevented HIV transmission.

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As part of a move to fight HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have said they are going to push for community-based HIV testing.

They however agreed that the benefits were only likely to occur if individuals knew their status and started treatment early.

The groups added that 10 national HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection (STI) programmes, civil society and development partners in the region had joined forces to ensure that everyone living with HIV, knew his or her status and could access HIV treatment.

They further said that hospitals, clinics and other health facilities needed to offer more voluntary HIV testing and counseling during routine check-ups, including antenatal visits.

Voluntary testing of intimate partners of people living with HIV should also be included, the group said.

Noting that early HIV diagnosis was an important strategy for HIV prevention and control in the 21st century, Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for Western Pacific pointed out that knowledge about HIV testing and counseling among key populations across the region was very low.

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