BUSAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has called for sustained commitment, leadership and partnerships to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS.

Speaking at the opening of the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, ADB Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Ursula Schaefer-Preuss stressed the need for continued political and economic commitment as well as increased collaboration among partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"By working together with governments, civil society, affected populations, the private sector and faith-based communities, we can jointly move forward in halting the spread of the epidemic in Asia and the Pacific," Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said.

Since the first reported HIV case 30 years ago, governments in the region, with support from civil society, communities and development partners, have made steady progress in slowing the transmission of the virus and treating those affected.

The Congress, which is the largest HIV/AIDS forum in Asia and the Pacific and the second largest in the world, has drawn thousands of representatives from the public and private sectors, civil society, academia, affected populations and development partners, including ADB. The Government of the Republic of Korea is hosting the Congress from 25 to 30 August, with ADB organizing five of the events including discussions on HIV mitigation in infrastructure development, and the scaling up of public-private partnerships.

ADB's support has mainly focused on HIV/AIDS mitigation in infrastructure development, particularly cross-border roads in the Greater Mekong Subregion where specific risks and vulnerabilities have been recognized. ADB is also involved in public-private partnerships in Mongolia and Papua New Guinea, as well as in regional initiatives such as the AIDS Data Hub for Asia and the Pacific. Working in close cooperation with UNAIDS and UNICEF ensures that initiatives are sustainable and that local health systems are able to respond effectively.