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Clin Dermatol. 1999 Mar-Apr;17(2):127-35; discussion 105-6.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in South East Asia.

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Department of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



This article reports on the prevalence of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Southeast Asia. The spread of HIV infection in this region has been predicted to be worse than that of Africa. The high-prevalence countries are Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar, where prevalence rates in the population at risk (15-49 year olds) are up to 2%; while low prevalence countries with rates of 0.1% include the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Brunei, and Singapore. Heterosexual transmission in Southeast Asia is the main mode of spread of HIV. Another route is through migration, rural-to-urban or international migration of people seeking jobs; with concurrent loneliness and anonymity, they become vulnerable to STDs and HIV infection. Intravenous drug use poses an increasing risk of transmission. The unavailability of data in some countries makes it difficult to evaluate the extent of the epidemic or if there's an impending epidemic. There are a number of caveats to the data compilation from various countries. These include the following: under-reporting of cases; underdiagnosis; missed diagnosis; and differences in the time of data collection. It is clear that poverty, illiteracy, and poor access to educational information in most countries in this region facilitate the rapid spread of HIV. These coupled with lack of primary health care services, and in most instances, enormously high cost of drugs make the pain and suffering due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic a human disaster far worse than the ravages of war.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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