NEW YORK, March 26, 2008 - Asia Society and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) formally launched “Redefining AIDS in Asia: Crafting an Effective Response,” the first report of the Independent Commission on AIDS in Asia.
(Inaugurated in June 2006 in New Delhi, the Independent Commission brought together nine of Asia’s leading development economists, policy makers, public health experts, and civil society representatives working on AIDS in an effort to better understand and analyze the disease's impact on economies, societies, families, and individuals across Asia.)
Commission Chairman Chakravarthi Rangarajan begins by describing the Commission’s work and stresses the need for countries in Asia to act on the report's findings with tangible political and economic support at all levels. JVR Prasada Rao warns that without adequate funding for governmental and civil society health and education initiatives, HIV/AIDS will only become more prevalent throughout Asia in the coming years. Frika Chia Iskandar emphasizes the importance of civil society organizations in helping to fight the disease, particularly among vulnerable populations.
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John Tedstrom, Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, moderates the discussion, which also includes Dr. Mahmuda Islam and Dr. Tim Brown, two additional members of the Independent Commission.
Dr. Tim Brown, Senior Research Fellow at the East West Center, member of the Mapping the AIDS Pandemic Network, and affiliated researcher at the Center for AIDS Research of Thai Red Cross Society;
Frika Chia Iskandar, founding member of PITA, a support group in Indonesia for parents of HIV-positive children; Board member of the Global Network of PLWHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS) representing the Asia Pacific region;
Dr. Mahmuda Islam, Professor of Sociology at Dhaka University, Bangladesh;
Chakravarthi Rangarajan, Commission Chairman; Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of India; Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India;
JVR Prasada Rao, Director, Regional Support Team, Asia and the Pacific, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS);
John E. Tedstrom, Executive Director, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (moderator).