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Asia HIV & AIDS Timeline


  • AIDS cases are reported across Asia including China (1 case), Hong Kong (3) Japan (11), Philippines (2) and Thailand (1)1.


  • India reports its first AIDS case, and the government orders spot testing of all commercial blood donors2.



  • By the end of the year an estimated 30% of injecting drug users in Bangkok, Thailand are infected with HIV4.


  • 146 injecting drug users in Southwest Yunnan, China are identified as HIV infected5.


  • The first detected case of HIV in Vietnam is reported in Ho Chi Minh City6, Laos also reports its first AIDS case7.


  • Cambodia’s first HIV case is reported8.
  • Thailand launches Asia’s most extensive HIV prevention programme9.


  • 699,000 people in Southeast Asia are infected with HIV; this is 2.0% of the world’s AIDS cases10.


  • The budget for Thailand’s AIDS control programme is increased almost 20-fold to $44 million. The government launches the ‘100 per cent condom programme’ to prevent further infections amongst sex workers11.


  • An outbreak of HIV is reported among paid blood donors in central China12.
  • The prevalence of HIV among sex workers in Thailand peaks at 33.2%13.


  • Nearly two and a half million people in Northeast and Southeast Asia are reported to be newly infected with HIV14.
  • HIV is spreading rapidly in Cambodia. Only four years after the first report of HIV infection the prevalence among female sex workers, male military, and pregnant women is 37.9%, 8.4% and 2.6% respectively15.


  • An estimated 45% of people who are infected with HIV in Southeast and Northeast Asia are co-infected with tuberculosis16.


  • A randomised controlled trial in Bangkok, Thailand finds that a short course of AZT reduces mother-to-child-transmission of HIV by 50%17.
  • Homosexual and/or bisexual transmission accounts for 28.7% of HIV infections in Singapore, 33% in the Philippines, 32% in Hong Kong and 16% in Japan18.


  • HIV infections are reported in all Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, with drug users accounting for 60-70% of reported cases19.


  • AZT to reduce mother-to-child-transmission is used in most hospitals in Thailand20.
  • Prevention efforts among sex workers in Cambodia have led to an increase in condom use, which is reportedly 90%21.
  • Singaporean AIDS activist Paddy Chew dies of AIDS. He was the first person in Singapore to publicise his HIV-positive status22.


  • Men account for four out of five HIV infections in Asia23.
  • Three former drug company executives accused of selling blood products tainted with HIV are jailed in Japan24.


  • Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India addresses parliament and refers to HIV/AIDS as one of the most serious health challenges facing the country25.
  • Migrant workers are contributing to the spread of HIV in Nepal. A study finds that 10% of migrants returning from Mumbai, India were HIV-positive26.


  • Cambodia has Asia’s highest HIV prevalence (2.6%), followed by Thailand (1.8%)27.


  • An estimated 7.4 million people in the Asia Pacific region are living with HIV/AIDS, with one million new infections this year28.
  • Wen Jiabao is the first Chinese premier to shake hands with an HIV-positive person29.
  • Thailand has reduced the number of new HIV infections from 143,000 in 1991 to 19,000 in 200330.
  • It is estimated that of the 1 million people in need of antiretroviral therapy in Southeast Asia, just 5% are receiving it31.


  • The Cambodian government halt a PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) trial due to ethical concerns and pressure from activists and NGOs32.
  • A second major AIDS vaccine trial is underway in Thailand despite the failure of a major trial amongst injecting drug users in Bangkok in 200333.
  • The World Bank has so far lent over $100 million dollars for HIV/AIDS programmes in the Asia region34.


  • 57,000 people in Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan) are living with HIV35.
  • Levels of HIV among injecting drug users in Vietnam reach as high as 63% in Hanoi, and 67% in Hai Phong36.
  • 170,000 children in South and South-East Asia, and 6,400 children in East Asia are living with HIV, most of whom became infected through mother-to-child transmission37.
  • The Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria withdraws its proposed $98.4 million grants for Myanmar (Burma) due to reported human rights abuses in the country38.


  • Approximately 280,000 people in Asia are receiving antiretroviral drugs; 81% of those in need of treatment are not receiving it39.
  • Less than 15% of those in need of antiretroviral treatment in India are receiving it. A report finds that 25% of those people living with HIV in India have been refused medical treatment on the basis of their HIV-positive status40.
  • In order to treat more people and cut the cost of second line treatment, Thailand begins to issue compulsory licenses for certain antiretrovirals, the first being efevirenz41.
  • In the Republic of Korea HIV/AIDS is predominantly affecting the male population with a current ratio between men and women of about nine to one42.


  • 4.9 million people in Asia are living with HIV (range 3.7-6.7 million), and there are 440,000 new HIV infections43.
  • An expanded and improved surveillance system leads UNAIDS to reduce its estimates of HIV infection in India from 5.6 million to between 2 and 3.6 million44.
  • For the first time ever, unsafe sex overtakes drug abuse as the main transmission route for reported HIV infections in China45.


  • An estimated 1.5 million people need antiretroviral treatment for their HIV infection in East, South and South-East Asia, and only 37% are receiving it46.
  • Indonesia has one of the fastest growing AIDS epidemics in Asia, according to its country progress report47.
  • Several countries in the region are experiencing a 'feminization' of the epidemic as more women are becoming infected with HIV through their husbands48.


  • The results of the AIDS ‘RV144’ vaccine trial in Thailand49 are widely publicised and hailed as an ‘important’ step in the search for an AIDS vaccine. However, later reports reveal the information to be less significant than first proposed and possibly misleading50
  • UNAIDS warns 50 million women in Asia are at risk of HIV infection from intimate partners who engage in high-risk sexual behaviours51
  • India overturns a 150 year old law banning homosexuality in a landmark human rights ruling52


  • The Philippines announce they are on the brink of a concentrated HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men.53
  • China detains the HIV/AIDS rights activist Tian Xi.54


  • Cambodia reaches universal access to antiretroviral treatment of more than 80%.55
  • Fiji and China lift their travel restrictions against people living with HIV.56
  • China pledges to increase domestic investments to fill gaps in funding from the Global Fund.57
  • Five countries (India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand) account for 99 percent of the Asian HIV epidemic.58


  • Republic of Korea lifts its travel restrictions against people living with HIV.59
  • J.V.R Prasada Rao is appointed as Special Envoy for AIDS in the Asia-Pacific Region.60
  • 100,000 more people were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2012 than 2011, in the South-East Asian region.61


  • Mongolia removes all travel restrictions for those living with HIV.62
  • Former Chair of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), Shivananda Khan dies.63
  • Uzbekistan lifts all restrictions on entry, stay and residence for people living with HIV.64
  • The Supreme Court in India re-criminalises adult consensual same sex sexual conduct.65


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