With Asia’s economies booming in all areas, not the least in infrastructure, it is essential to integrate HIV and AIDS preventive measures into infrastructure projects and continue to focus on prevention, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss told an international conference.
Infrastructure is critical to economic growth, international competitiveness, and opportunities for inclusive development in Asia. But it can be a means for spreading HIV and AIDS and other infectious diseases. This can occur especially when there are large construction camps with mobile workers, and when the transport corridors are built and mobility then increases. East Asia alone requires some $1 trillion investment in infrastructure between 2005 and 2010, according to a collaborative study involving ADB.
“Integrating HIV and AIDS prevention measures into broader programs has payoffs,” said Schaefer-Preuss at this week’s 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. ADB is ensuring that HIV and AIDS are properly considered in all relevant projects supported by ADB. She stressed that joint action of development partners was particularly important in minimizing possible negative impacts of infrastructure investments. She noted the important role that can be played by the Joint Initiative by Development Agencies for the Infrastructure Sectors to Mitigate the Spread of HIV and AIDS.
he initiative, signed last year, identifies tangible ways for multilateral and bilateral development agencies to strengthen cooperation by increasing the scale, scope and effectiveness of future infrastructure interventions for combating AIDS. The Vice President also emphasized the need for good analytical studies on the socioeconomic impact and the cost of HIV and AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. Having well-founded studies will help governments make better decisions on allocating scarce resources.