The United Nations (U.N.) is urging Asian countries to step up efforts to increase access to HIV treatment, the Voice of America (VOA) reports. At a meeting of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the successes and challenges of the 34 countries represented were discussed. Noeleen Heyzer, the executive secretary of ESCAP, said new HIV cases in the region were down 20 percent since 2001. She also said the gains were uneven and there were gaps in the goal of universal access to HIV treatment. Officials say that 90 percent of Asia Pacific countries still have barriers to treating HIV, including laws that criminalize sex workers and injection drug users.

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