Potential Problem

Nov 30, 2006 (LBO) – Estimated 5.5 to six million people in South Asia is infected with AIDS which have become a severe epidemic but the HIV epidemic remains at a low level in Sri Lanka, the World Bank said Thursday.

South Asia is a heterogeneous and highly mobile region the report says, where most severe epidemics occur in parts of India.

There are an estimated 5,000 people in Sri Lanka living with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which attacks the body’s immune system – the body’s ability to fight diseases.

National STD/AIDS Control programme run by Department of Health Services, 2006 report says the number of reported cumulative AIDS deaths in Sri Lanka, is 153.

Sri Lanka, has an estimated 30,000 female sex workers and 4,800 brothels that operate are patronized by over 700,000 clients ranging from students, police officers, truck drivers, dockworkers, to sailors, the bank said in a report released today.

According to sentinel surveillance conducted from 1993 to 2004, of 13,533 serum samples collected from female sex workers, only 11 tested positive.

Of 31,904 serum samples collected from sexually transmitted infections (STI) patients (many of whom constitute the clientele of