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Philippine News Digest 56

June 23, 2003 · 

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Contents:
-Number of children being affected bu HIV/AIDS is rising in Southeast Asia

-In Asia, RP spends least on education

Number of children being affected by HIV/AIDS is rising in Southeast Asia

There are now 9,400 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) cases in the Philippines, says the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Of the total, 2,500 are women and 10 are children. A total of 720 deaths have already been reported, UNAIDS added. Although the number of those infected with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines is relatively small compared with other Asian countries, UNAIDS said the government must tighten controls so that the deadly virus will not spread. It warned that in India and China alone, at least 5 million people are believed to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Epidemiologists predict the number will climb rapidly, the report said. UNAIDS further warned that at the end of this decade, HIV infections may reach 25 million in India and 15 million in China. China, with 1.3 billion people, had experienced a 67-percent increase in reported HIV. According to UNAIDS, Asia and the Pacific islands are home to more people with HIV/AIDS than any other region in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa. In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, only Brunei Darussalam had no listing, UNAIDS said. Singapore had 3,400 cases with 860 women, 100 children and four deaths. Indonesia had 126,000 cases with 27,000 women, 1,300 children and 4,600 deaths. Malaysia had 42,000 cases with 11,000 women, 770 children, and 2,500 deaths. Thailand had 670,000 cases with 220,000 women, 21,000 children and 55,000 deaths. Vietnam had 130,000 cases with 35,000 women, 2,500 children and 6,600 deaths. Cambodia had 176,000 cases with 74,000 women, 12,000 children, and 12,000 deaths. Laos had 1,400 cases with 359 women, 100 children and 150 deaths. Although Hong Kong is not an Asean member, it is linked closely with the Philippines. Hong Kong was listed with 2,600 cases, 660 women, 100 children, and 100 deaths. The UN has already warned China of a potential HIV-AIDS disaster of unimaginable proportions. The UN said government neglect is a major reason for the spread of the virus. While Burma was not listed, UNAIDS said the country could have a very high rate of HIV infection, kept secret by the government. Grinding poverty and a flourishing criminal trade in drugs and sex make the country fertile ground for HIV, the report said.

In Asia, RP spends least on education

The Philippines spends the least on education in the entire Asian region, according to figures released by the United Nations Development program. The Philippines spent $138 on basic education per pupil per year while Japan spent $3,872; Singapore, $1,582; and Thailand, $852. When the school year opened this year, there is a classroom shortage of 44,716; teacher shortage, 35,818; and desk shortage, four million. Out of 100 first graders, only 60 is expected to finish grade school

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