ADB launches Transport Sector Toolkit
ADB Marks World AIDS Day
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) marked the commemoration of the 20th World AIDS Day 2007 with the launch today of a new guide for decision makers and staff working with the transport sector.
While the guide, HIV/AIDS and the Transport Sector – a toolkit for decision makers, is focused on HIV/AIDS issues related to the development of roads, many of the same issues and interventions discussed are applicable to other types of infrastructure programs.
“While transport sector projects are powerful instruments for economic growth, they attract a migrant population during construction and facilitate people’s mobility, both linked to the spread of HIV,” said Jacques Jeugmans, ADB Principal Health Specialist, Regional and Sustainable Development Department. “ADB wants to mitigate the possible spread of HIV and AIDS that our transport projects might facilitate. This toolkit will help our staff and decision makers to choose appropriate HIV/AIDS prevention interventions.”
ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Ms. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, has officially handed over the guide to Nigel Rayner, Director of the Transport Division of ADB’s East Asia Department, during the opening ceremony of World AIDS Day in ADB Headquarters.
“We want ADB to become an AIDS-competent institution, with staff not only well informed about the HIV/AIDS epidemic but also able to identify opportunities and take initiatives,” Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said in her remarks to ADB staff.
“We have produced some ground-breaking studies on the social and economic impact of the epidemic in the region,” Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said. “One study showed that, except perhaps for women when poverty pushes them to prostitution, poverty alone is not a risk factor for HIV and AIDS…But HIV and AIDS lead to poverty.”
According to UNAIDS, an estimated 4.9 million people were living with HIV in Asia Pacific in 2007, including the 440,000 people newly infected in 2006. Approximately 300,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2007, and there were almost 20% more new HIV infections in East Asia than in 2001. The HIV prevalence is highest in South-East Asia, with large variations: while the epidemic seems to have declined in Thailand and Cambodia, it is growing fast in Indonesia and Vietnam. In India, new and more accurate figures still indicate that some 2.5 million people were living with HIV in 2006.