From Myanmar Times, by Khin Myat

Experts from non-government organisations working in the HIV prevention field say the proportion of new HIV infections attributed to husband-to-wife transmission is likely to increase over the next five years. Dr Khin Zar Li Aye, a monitoring and evaluation officer at the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said that by 2015, nearly half of all new HIV infections would occur among women infected by their husbands.

UNAIDS estimates about two-fifths of all new infections in 2010 are the result of husband-to-wife transmission. However, while the number of new infections among sex worker clients and injecting drug users is expected to fall over the next five years, husband-to-wife transmission is expected to rise slightly, UNAIDS says.

Dr Sid Naing, country director of Marie Stopes International, said because Myanmar received relatively little funding to prevent new HIV infections from international donors, NGOs had to target only high-risk groups, such as sex workers and drug users. “Married women are a neglected group when it comes to HIV prevention activities,” he said. He said it is also difficult to raise awareness among married women because most trusted their husbands and believed they would be always be faithful. “We see some cases of women who are about 40 years old contracting HIV — women who have no history of drug use or having sex outside marriage,” he said.

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